The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #37: Minnesota Wild vs. New York Rangers 12/22/2013 @ 6:30PM CST at Madison Square Garden

Minnesota Wild (20-12-5) 45pts  4th in the Central

2.19 Goals For (29th)

2.27 Goals Against (5th)

20.0% Power Play (9th)

78.5% Penalty Kill (24th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 15G 12A = 27pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 7G 20A = 27pts

3. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 16G 8A = 24pts

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

5. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 6G 11A = 17pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 55 PIM's

2. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 35 PIM's

3. #2 Keith Ballard ~ 27 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

1. #37 Josh Harding (18-5-3)  1.51GAA  .939%SP  3SO

2. #32 Niklas Backstrom (2-6-2)  3.12GAA  .896%SP






New York Rangers (16-18-2) 34pts  6th in the Metropolitan

2.25 Goals For (27th)

2.75 Goals Against (16th)

18.7% Power Play (14th)

84.7% Penalty Kill (8th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #19 Brad Richards ~ 9G 17A = 26pts

2. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 7G 17A = 24pts

3. #21 Derek Stepan ~ 7G 16A = 23pts

4. #20 Chris Kreider ~ 8G 11A = 19pts

5. #27 Ryan McDonagh ~ 6G 13A = 19pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #15 Derek Dorsett ~ 103 PIM's

2. #22 Brian Boyle ~ 34 PIM's

3. #67 Benoit Pouliot ~ 33 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

1. #30 Henrik Lundqvist (10-15-2)  2.77GAA  .905%SP  2SO

2. #33 Cam Talbot (6-2-0)  1.74GAA  .934%SP  2SO

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Mikko Koivu


Remember last game when I expressed my utter dislike of playing the Pittsburgh Penguins?  Well tonight, we have to play another of my least favorite teams.  I also hate the New York Rangers, however for different reasons.  Most of my dislike of the Rangers comes from those days before the salary cap.  Back then, the Rangers would spend, and spend, and spend while many of the teams would be pinching their pennies.  New York was able to pretty much bring in any free agent they wanted.  But the best revenge, is that even with all the money they spent, they were unable to buy a Stanley Cup.  Interestingly enough, they've come closer to a Cup in recent years with a salary cap than they were in the "free market" NHL.  After the implementation of the salary cap, my dislike of the Rangers has been due to their bench boss.  I really, really don't like John Tortorella and while he's no longer in Manhattan he now is suffering the joy that is Vancouver, another of my least favorite teams.  Dealing with the Vancouver fanbase is perfect revenge.  Karma truly is a beautiful thing.

Now I will admit, I missed Thursday's game.  I went home for the holidays early, mostly to help my mother who had surgery last Friday.  But from what I can gather, I didn't miss much, and in the long run, I probably avoided a lot of disappointment.  When your team can't score and you're using your "backup" goaltender, life isn't going to be pretty.  Of course injuries and health assessments aren't helping matters.  However, things may be looking up.  Concussed forward, Mikael Granlund has officially been cleared to practice.  It seems that he had a great practice in Pittsburgh, and was very disappointed when he wasn't in the lineup against the Penguins.  He's still waiting to hear if he'll be in tonight's lineup.  Granlund says he feels great and his mind feels sharp, and he really wants to get back into the action.  We could definitely use his help.  Whether or not he plays, it still falls to the rest of the bench to pick things up and show that they're truly professional athletes and do the jobs they were hired to do.  I also hope that Niklas Backstrom has figured out a way to control his rebounds.  That alone is crucial, and until we get Josh Harding back in Winnipeg (hopefully), Backstrom needs to find a way to control his game, which ultimately controls the overall game.  And he needs to get his mind truly focussed, as it appears that Backstrom will be making back-to-back starts tonight and tomorrow.  Oy vey.

With Christmas just days away, and the snow is gently falling here in southeast Minnesota, I know I could certainly go for an early Christmas present tonight.  If Santa were to read this, here is a short list of things he could take to Madison Square Garden tonight.  I'd like to see scoring come from all four lines tonight.  There are quite a few players that could afford to get off of Santa's "naughty list" tonight.  I'd love to see more than one or two Wild goals.  And I'd love to see the Backstrom of old, the Backstrom who looked brilliant on a nightly basis.  While it's a tall order to get all of those wishes tonight, I'd be happy with a combination of two of those.  The Wild could use a little Christmas miracle right now.  



Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette