The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #2: Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks, Saturday 10-05-13, 7:00pm CDT, Xcel Energy Center [Game Preview]

Minnesota Wild 1 pt (0-0-1) 5th Central Division
2.00 Goals per Game (19th)
2.00 Goals Against per Game (9th)
20.0% Power Play (13rh)
66.7% Penalty Kill (24th)

Top 5 Scorers:
1. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 0G 2A = 2pts
2. #25 Jonas Brodin ~ 1G 0A = 1pt
3. #24 Matt Cooke ~ 1G 0A = 1pt
4. #21 Kyle Brodziak ~ 0G 1A = 1pt
5. #22 Nino Niedereiter ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

Top 3 Penalty Minutes:
1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 7PIM's
2. #2 Keith Ballard ~ 5PIM's
3. #22 Nino Niedereiter ~ 2PIM's

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom ~ (0-0-1) 1.85GAA .889SV%


Anaheim Ducks 0pts (0-1-0) 7th Pacific Division
1.00 Goals per Game (25th)
6.00 Goals Against per Game (30th)
0.0% Power Play (27th)
50.0% Penalty Kill (29th)

Top 5 (well 3) Scorers:
1. #33 Jakob Silfverberg ~ 1G 0A = 1pt
2. #28 Mark Fistric ~ 0G 1A = 1pt
3. #13 Nick Bonino ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

Top 3 Penalty Minutes:
1. #15 Ryan Getzlaf ~ 7PIM's
2. #62 Patrick Maroon ~ 5PIM's
3. #34 Daniel Winnik ~ 4PIM's

1. #30 Viktor Fasth ~ (0-1-0) 6.00GAA .793SV%


Games like tonight's are the kinds of games that will do one of two things (if not both).  First off, you're going to see how Minnesota plays against a team like Anaheim that got their butt handed to them in their first game.  Desperate teams are often dangerous.  While it's too early for any team to be truly desperate, Anaheim should come out playing like they want to put the Colorado game behind them (and forget altogether).  If Anaheim comes out strong, we have to hope to see a Wild team that will push back instead of backing down.  The other thing we need to watch for is how Minnesota will fight back after their own season opening loss.  Thursday's game against Los Angeles was a winnable game, and a win that slipped through their fingers.  In fact it is games like tonight's that could very easily set the tone for the entire season.

One thing that is evident from the stats alone (yes, I realize they're the result of but one game), is that players like Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Jason Pominville need to wake up.  Not only todo they not have a spot in the above statistics, but they were essentially invisible on the ice.  Management does not shell out big bucks to top line players for them to have little impact.  However you can't rely solely on those top players, but as fans we expect to see far more out of them.  Yes, they started slow last season, but everyone seemed to start slow due to a lack of a true training camp.  This season there should be no excuse for a slow start by your top guys.  They had a full training camp and a full pre-season to prepare.  I firmly believe that the first ten games of this season and how the top line performs could be indicitive of how this season plays out as a whole.  

Considering how the Wild's young players came out on Thursday night, I hope we see more of that.  Perhaps it will inspire the vets to wake up.  With an exciting youth movement wearing the home sweaters, it is only natural that another Wild rookie makes his NHL debut tonight.  With Matt Dumba in tonight, that means Clayton Stoner will be the defenseman out tonight.  So tonight begins an extended ten-game job interview for Dumba, as he either stays in St. Paul after those ten games or goes back to juniors.  I guess I should be happy we have the young players that we do, as so far they're about the only interesting thing about this season.  

They're are definitely going to be lessons to be learned for both teams tonight.  Hopefully it is Minnesota that comes out with the better grade and lesson learned.