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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #34: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 12/14/2013 @ 8:00PM CST at Pepsi Center

Minnesota Wild (18-11-5)   41pts   4th in Central

2.24 Goals For (26th)

2.24 Goals Against (5th)

20.6% Power Play (8th)

77.9% Penalty Kill (25th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 14G 12A = 26pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 7G 18A = 25pts

3. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 15G 7A = 22pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 17A = 17pts

5. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 5G 10A = 15pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 43 PIMs

2. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 35 PIMs

3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 20 PIMs

Top Goaltenders:

1. #37 Josh Harding ~ (16-5-3)   1.52GAA   .938SV%

2. #32 Niklas Backstrom ~ (2-5-5)   2.93GAA   .900SV%

 

Vs.

 

Colorado Avalanche (21-9-0)   42pts   3rd in Central

2.83 Goals For (8th)

2.37 Goals Against (9th)

14.9% Power Play (24th)

80.0% Penalty Kill (21st)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #9 Matt Duchene ~ 14G 10A = 24pts

2. #92 Gabriel Landeskog ~ 9G 13A = 22pts

3. #90 Ryan O'Reilly ~ 10G 9A = 19pts

4. #15 PA Parenteau ~ 9G 9A = 18pts

5. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 6G 12A = 18pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #55 Cody McLeod ~ 69 PIMs

2. #58 Patrick Bordeleau ~ 48 PIMs

3. #16 Cary Sarich ~ 36 PIMs

Top Goaltenders:

1. #1 Semyon Varlamov ~ (14-8-0)   2.48GAA   .921SV%

2. #35 Jean-Sebastien Giguere ~ (7-1-0)   1.84GAA   .940SV%

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Marco Scandella & Torrey Mitchell

 

As a die hard Wild fan who's sleep patterns have been greatly effected due to the past two games not starting until 9:30pm Central Time on a work night, I'm very much looking forward to an earlier start time and that I can stay up as late as I want tonight.  I would also argue that my sleep has been effected by the fact that when I was finally able to go to bed after the losses in Anaheim and San Jose, sleep seemed to evade me as I was ticked off by the result and the poor effort put forth by the Wild.  As a fan, I certainly better than what we've seen as of late.  And with the Christmas holiday coming up, an early Christmas gift would be nice.

Now in past games, we're often frustrated by the team (and coaching staff) the the same things over and over again, even though they don't work.  Looks like we're finally going to see some changes.  In an effort to boost scoring, head coach Mike Yeo is shuffling the lines around.  On the first line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu will be Charlie Coyle.  Seems this move will do two things.  First off, Coyle has been most successful on that particular line.  However, it also brings an offensive threat to the second line.  Jason Pominville will be taking his team-leading 15 goals and nose for the net to the second line with Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter.  While I like these moves, I just hope the coach sticks with them for a bit.  What they've been doing recently hasn't been working, so hopefully Yeo gives the new line combinations more than half a period before he decides to put them back to his normal combinations.

While one would think that's worthy of a soap opera story line, there could be drama elsewhere.  And that drama comes from who will be joining Mike Rupp as a healthy scratch for the night.  While the Wild weren't anything to write home about on Thursday night, it seems that Brent Bulmer impressed the coaching staff enough to earn him a second game tonight.  With Bulmer in, it means that another foward needs to be scratched tonight.  The candidates are Zenon Konopka, Justin Fontaine, Torrey Mitchel and Dany Heatley.  If the coaching staff were to poll most Wild fans, the hands-down "favorite" would be Heatley.  Fans are getting less and less patient with the man.  While most never expected him to be a savior for the team, we certainly expected more from him than what we're getting.  And considering that he came to training camp this season in much better shape and quite a few pounds lighter, that hasn't translated into more offense.  If you truly want to know the average fan's opinion on Heatley, just pop on to any Wild message board during a game.  It's not for the faint of heart.

Truly, there are bigger problems than line combinations and who sits for the night.  Scoring is the number one problem, and it's a problem on every line.  I'm not holding my breath that the changes in the makeup of the lines will make a difference, but if it does help (even a little), I'll take it.  

 

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette