Minnesota Wild (12-4-4) 28pts 4th in the Central
2.55 Goals For (19th)
2.00 Goals Against (2nd)
22.7% Power Play (5th)
78.7% Penalty Kill (25th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 10G 7A = 17pts
2. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 12G 4A = 16pts
3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 2G 13A = 15pts
4. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 2G 10A = 12pts
5. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 12A = 12pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 32 PIM's
2. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 20 PIM's
3. #39 Nate Prosser ~ 19 PIM's
1. #37 Josh Harding (11-2-2) 1.26GAA .945%SP 2SO
2. #32 Niklas Backstrom (1-1-2) 3.30GAA .874%SP
Winnipeg Jets (10-9-2) 22pts 6th in the Central
2.43 Goals For (22nd)
2.76 Goals Against (18th)
10.7% Power Play (29th)
81.9% Penalty Kill (17th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #18 Bryan Little ~ 11G 7A = 18pts
2. #16 Andrew Ladd ~ 5G 12A = 17pts
3. #33 Dustin Byfuglien ~ 3G 11A = 14pts
4. #9 Evander Kane ~ 6G 6A = 12pts
5. #26 Blake Wheeler ~ 5G 7A = 12pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #33 Dustin Byfuglien ~ 28 PIM's
2. #9 Evander Kane ~ 25 PIM's
3. #39 Tobias Enstrom ~ 16 PIM's
1. #31 Ondrej Pavelec (8-7-2) 2.78GAA .915%SP 1SO
2. #Al Montoya (2-2-0) 2.20GAA .921%SP 1SO
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Lately, I'm having those moments where things aren't as they really are. For example, let's look at the weather. Looking at the calendar, it's mid-November. By this time in the Upper Midwest, we should be thinking "winter is coming." The temps should drop, the wind should pick up, and in most years, we'd see some real snow other than a few flakes. This November has been strange to say the least. Just last week, was one of those weeks where the mind starts thinking ahead to winter. Last night, just put those thoughts out of one's mind. Last night, we had an absolute downpour, of almost Biblical proportions, complete with thunder and lightning. It felt more like a mid-summer thunderstorm than mid-November. As my husband and I were driving to meat some friends for dinner, has said to me "if it was cold enough, we'd be having a blizzard." Yes, it's the Upper Midwest, we do think those things.
But when it comes to the Minnesota Wild, I'd say things are also not as they appear. Yes, as fans we're currently riding this wave of feel good wins, including some that had to be fought back for. Yes, those wins are great. However, let's look at who we've been playing lately. Not exactly teams that should make you shake in your boots. Things are about to "get real" now. Now, is when we start facing only conference and divisional opponents. Yeah, things may be great now, but have we played St. Louis or Colorado yet? No. That's when the real test of this team will come. Not playing Florida, a game we almost lost by the way.
Tonight, Winnipeg marks the return of Western Conference play. Tonight, our friendly home confines of Xcel Energy Center won't be so friendly. Winnipeg has fans who will and do travel. Many will make the drive across the border, so my guess is the Pembina crossing will be busy today (and the traffic probably started yesterday, with Canadians possibly taking in some holiday shopping). Others with more money or less time will fly in. I was at the Montreal game earlier this month. If you thought those fans were loud, my guess is if the Jets give their fans something to cheer about, they will be much louder than the Canadiens fans were. So depending on how tonight goes, it might feel more like a road game than a home game. Another thing, not as they really are.
And while we round out the month with divisional and conference play, we do have a Canadian road trip this week. So perhaps the Wild should just pretend that tonight with all those Jets fans is really a road game. We're not exactly heading to friendly places for the Wild this week. Tuesday it's off to Montreal. I may just watch that game through splayed fingers as it's usually a travesty when we play there. We also don't fare well in or against Ottawa, Wednesday's opponent. And of course, that Canadian road trips ends in Winnipeg. It will be loud in all three places. If Minnesota can win either the Montreal or Ottawa game, I just may lost this sense of doubt.
The truth of the matter is I won't truly start to believe in this team, until we have consistent effort and consistent wins in the Western Conference. Right now, the wins we have could just be smoke and mirrors.