Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks 4/7/18 @ 9:30PM CST at SAP Center

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks 4/7/18 @ 9:30PM CST at SAP Center


Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. San Jose Sharks 4/7/18 @ 9:30PM CST at SAP Center


Minnesota Wild (44-26-11)  99pts  3rd in the Central

3.01 Goals For Per Game (12th in the NHL)

2.79 Goals Against Per Game (11th in the NHL)

20.5% Power Play (18th in the NHL)

81.1% Penalty Kill (13th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 41G 34A = 75pts

2. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 20G 46A = 66pts

3. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 31G 31A = 62pts

4. #24 Matt Dumba ~ 14G 35A = 49pts

5. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 14G 31A = 45pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 72 PIM’s

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 46 PIM’s

3. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 44 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (34-16-7)  2.51GAA  .918%SP  5SO

2. #32 Alex Stalock (10-10-4)  2.85GAA  .910%SP  1SO






San Jose Sharks (45-26-10)  100pts  2nd in the Pacific

3.01 Goals For Per Game (13th in the NHL)

2.72 Goals Against Per Game (8th in the NHL)

20.8% Power Play (15th in the NHL)

84.8% Penalty Kill (2nd in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #8 Joe Pavelski ~ 21G 44A = 65pts

2. #88 Brent Burns ~ 11G 54A = 65pts

3. #39 Logan Couture ~ 34G 27A = 61pts

4. #48 Tomas Hertl ~ 22G 24A = 46pts

5. #50 Chris Tierny ~ 17G 23A = 40pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #4 Brenden Dillon ~ 60 PIM’s

2. #28 Timo Meier ~ 51 PIM’s

3. #88 Brent Burns ~ 46 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #31 Martin Jones (30-21-6)  2.49GAA  .917%SP  4SO

2. #30 Aaron Dell (15-5-4)  2.67GAA  .913%SP  2SO


San Jose Sharks










Minnesota Wild




Foligno~Eriksson Ek~Winnik







Raise your hand.

Did you decide to skip Thursday night’s game, because you didn’t want to wait until 9:30pm Central Time for a game to start? Heck, I was even bed before the game even started. I’ll admit, I didn’t really check to see how the game really went, other than the end score. What gets me though, is how quickly the game was lost in overtime. This is one of those things that needed to be figured out months ago. Yet, we continue to just seemingly ignore that overtime really matters. It would be nice if the team truly understood how standings and tie breakers are really dependent on regulation and overtime wins. If the Wild’s playoff appearance had come down to the “regulation-and-overtime-wins” stat as part of tie-breaker, they would have been sadly disappointed. Sure, they’re successful if they can win in regulation, but they can’t win in overtime. At the very least, we don’t have to deal with 3-on-3 overtime in the playoffs. If and when games go to overtime, it’s a sudden-death, five-on-five 20 minute overtime period. No five minutes. No shootouts. With that in mind, the more conservatively minded Wild can spend at least the first five minutes figuring out what the heck they’re going to do. Hopefully they figure things out quickly, because somehow I doubt the Winnipeg Jets are going to give the time to “figure things out.”

So tonight, another late game, but at least for a while, it’s going to be the last one. I’ll admit, the chances of getting out of the first round is going to be slim, so let’s put off those thoughts for now and focus on the San Jose Sharks. Like the Wild, the Sharks have a guaranteed appearance in the playoffs. They can afford to lose, but I’m sure they’d rather not. A Sharks loss and a Ducks win, you could see those 2 teams swapping places. And those places can determine your first round opponent, so I’m sure both teams are looking ahead to who they could face. So for both the Sharks and Ducks, you want to have some control of your destiny. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a Sharks team come out strong. I’d like to see a Wild team do that as well. I’d like to see them earn 100 points on the season. But as I’ve talked about so many times this season (and in previous seasons as well), this is a team we can’t count on being consistent. They’ll go on a winning streak and you think “finally, they’ve figured things out.” Of course once you start thinking that, they start stinking up the joint again. Or a serious injury happens.

Minnesota is getting one of their injured players back tonight. Sadly, it’s Gustav Olofsson and not Jared Spurgeon. Now Spurgeon is skating and it sounds like he’s close to returning, but he was not brought on this road trip. While I miss his presence on the blue line, I’m glad he was left back in Saint Paul, because you pretty much know if he was on the road trip, the temptation would be too great and he’d be put in the lineup. We’ve seen this team bring players back before they’re completely healed and it’s caused bigger issues down the road. The other drawback to the return of Olofsson, is that the Wild have been forced to send Carson Soucy down. It sounds like Bruce Boudreau was not pleased with that scenario, but once the playoffs start, Soucy will be back in Saint Paul. Soucy, Ryan Murphy, and Nick Seeler haven’t been horrible, but they’ve had big shoes to fill, especially with Spurgeon and Ryan Suter out of action. I know I’m not the only one who believes the loss of Olofsson was a case of addition by subtraction, so I’m not looking forward to his ineffective game on the ice. Hopefully the NHL debut of Louie Belpedio will help us forget that Olofsson is on the team.

With tonight’s game and the playoffs just around the corner, I think it’s important that we take a small pause and try to remember what’s really important. Late yesterday afternoon, a team bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Team, collided with a semi-truck. The team was on its way to a playoff game of their own. Of the 29 people on the bus, 14 were killed. Three of the remaining people in the hospital are still in critical condition. These were players, who while not playing Major Junior, they were still playing a junior hockey. They’re players who if they chose to, and a team wanted them, they would have been eligible to play NCAA hockey. Who knows how many of those players might have some day made their way to college hockey and then made it to the AHL or NHL. It’s a sad day, and it’s stories like these that definitely help put things into true perspective.



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