Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 12/23/17 @ 6:00PM CST at Amalie Arena

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 12/23/17 @ 6:00PM CST at Amalie Arena

Wild

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 12/23/17 @ 6:00PM CST at Amalie Arena

Minnesota Wild (18-14-3)  39pts  6th in the Central

2.86 Goals For Per Game (19th in the NHL)

2.91 Goals Against Per Game (17th in the NHL)

20.4% Power Play (11th in the NHL)

83.8% Penalty Kill (3rd in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 14G  17A = 31pts

2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 14G 11A = 25pts

3. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 7G 15A = 22pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 5G 17A = 22pts

5. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 6G 13A = 19pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 25 PIM’s

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 24 PIM’s

3. #12 Eric Staal ~ 22 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #32 Alex Stalock (6-6-0-1)  2.82GAA  .913%SP  1SO

2. #31 Steve Michalek N/A

 

 

Vs.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning (25-7-2)  52pts  1st in the Atlantic

3.76 Goals For Per Game (1st in the NHL)

2.54 Goals Against Per Game (4th in the NHL)

27.4% Power Play (1st in the NHL)

78.2% Penalty Kill (22nd in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #86 Nikita Kucherov ~ 23G 27A = 50pts

2. #91 Steven Stamkos ~ 13G 32A = 45pts

3. #21 Brayden Point ~ 14G 17A = 31pts

4. #90 Vladislav Namestnikov ~ 15G 15A = 30pts

5. #77 Victor Hedman ~ 4G 21 A = 25pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #77 Victor Hedman ~ 24 PIM’s

2. #13 Cedric Paquette ~ 22 PIM’s

3. #14 Chris Kunitz ~ 21 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #88 Andrei Vasilevskiy (22-5-0-1)  2.20GAA  .931%SP  3SO

2. #31 Peter Budaj (3-2-0-1)  3.67GAA  .878%SP

Lines:

Tampa Bay Lightning

Namestnikov~Stamkos~Kucherov

Palat~Point~Johnson

Killorn~Gourde~Conacher

Kunitz~Paquette~Brown

Hedman~Dotchin

Stralman~Sergachev

Coburn~Girardi

Vasilevskii

Budaj

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Koivu~Granlund

Niederreiter~Staal~Coyle

Eriksson Ek~Winnik~Stewart

Foligno~Cullen~Ennis

Suter~Dumba

Brodin~Spurgeon

Reilly~Prosser

Stalock

Michalek

 

Well Krampus showed up last night. I told you all that losing to the Florida Panthers was a distinct possibility. I do have to wonder what we as fans have possibly done to make Krampus show up instead of Saint Nicholas. Seriously, as a fan base, have we not suffered enough? Of the major professional sports, the last championship we’ve seen was in 1991 when the Minnesota Twins won the world series. Of course, the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA have won many championships in recent years, however they don’t get the same kind of respect their male counterparts do. Of course, it has much to do with money. Let’s face it, women’s sports (college and pro) simply do not generate the same kind of revenue. In Minnesota, women’s sports have been far more successful as far as championships. Between the Lynx and the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, they’ve been the only championships the state of Minnesota has seen. So we continue to wait. We continue to be disappointed. It’s getting to the point where our professional players are probably all the embodiment of Krampus, looking to punish us.

So here we go again. Another game in Florida. While last night should have been a win, or at the very least a good chance of a win. For a while, it felt like they just might pull it off. Getting another goal by Ryan Suter was a step in the right direction. Sure, Suter isn’t exactly an offensive defenseman, but considering how much he is paid, we need him to chip in a goal here and there more often than he has. So seeing him score in two consecutive games, it certainly makes me feel a little more complimentary toward him. It was also nice to see Daniel Winnik get one himself last night. However, we were still a few goals short like we tend to find ourselves on many nights this season. It’s frustrating to watch. We need the goal scorers to show up on a regular basis. We can’t depend on Matt Dumba and Suter to score all the goals. I’m a big Jason Zucker fan. Same goes for Nino Niederreiter. However, I can’t hold them exempt from criticism. Lately, they have been a bit missing in action. Again, I don’t understand what is holding this team back. We see glimmers of hope every once in a while, and then reality comes crashing down. We’re were told this was going to be the Wild’s year during the off-season. I don’t know what they were looking at when they can to that bold proclamation.

Everything about the potential outcome of tonight’s game, kind of makes me glad that I won’t be watching this one. Just looking at the stats of the Tampa Bay Lightning, it makes me terribly jealous. First, let’s take a serious look at Nikita Kucherov. Who wouldn’t want a player with 50 points, 23 of them goals. Heck, our very own Mikael Granlund has only 22 points. Kucherov has more goals, then Granlund has points total. How is that not difficult to stomach? And let’s not forget that the Lightning also have Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov as well. I’m jealous of the fans in Tampa Bay who get to watch that bounty of riches on a nightly basis. I wish I could trade, because sometimes I wonder if some fanbases really understand the struggle. Now in some of the more untraditional markets, the public doesn’t pay attention enough to even know if their team is good or bad. I don’t think that’s quite the case with the Tampa Bay area. I believe they have some genuinely dedicated fans. They’re not like their fellow Floridians in Sunrise. Of course their relative success is what has helped them be where they are today. And unfortunately, we now get to face the number one team in the league right before the Christmas break. Merry Christmas.

I wish all of you reading this a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy this time with your family and friends. Be safe in your travels and make sure you get some time to relax.

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