The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #45: Minnesota Wild vs. Phoenix Coyotes 1/9/2014 @ 8:00PM CST at Jobing.com Arena

Minnesota Wild (23-17-5)  51pts  4th in the Central

2.27 Goals For (26th)

2.44 Goals Against (10th)

19.6% Power Play (11th)

79.4% Penalty Kill (23rd)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 18G 12A = 30pts

2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 5G 24A = 29pts

3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 9G 13A = 22pts

4. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 3G 15A = 18pts

5. #24 Matt Cooke ~ 5G 11A = 16pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 39 PIM's

2. #2 Keith Ballard ~ 31 PIM's

3. #39 Nate Prosser ~ 28 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

1. #37 Josh Harding (18-7-3)  1.65GAA  .933%SP  3SO

2. #32 Niklas Backstrom (4-9-2)  3.15GAA  .896%SP

3. #35 Darcy Kuemper (1-1-0)  3.39GAA  .875%SP






Phoenix Coyotes (21-12-9)  51pts  5th in the Pacific

2.98 Goals For (6th)

2.93 Goals Against (22nd)

18.8% Power Play (14th)

78.4% Penalty Kill (26th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #17 Radim Vrbata ~ 11G 20A = 31pts

2. #63 Mike Ribeiro ~ 10G 21A = 31pts

3. #11 Martin Hanzal ~ 12G 18A = 30pts

4. #89 Mikkel Boedker ~ 13G 16A = 29pts

5. #3 Keith Yandle ~ 6G 22A = 28pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #11 Martin Hanzal ~ 49 PIM's

2. #3 Keith Yandle ~ 33 PIM's

3. #24 Kyle Chipchura ~ 30 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

1. #41 Mike Smith (15-10-8)  2.89GAA  .911%SP

2. #1 Thomas Greiss (6-2-1)  1.89GAA  .937%SP  1SO

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Matt Cooke


So, if you're tuning in this morning and looking at the stats and wondering "where are Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu?" have no fears.  They've not been traded (trust me, that would be a different article).  We've simply made the exectutive decision to take players, with the exception of Josh Harding out of our statistics.  It seemed like it was a better policy to show you an accurate picture of what our scoring chances really look like.  Of course seeing the scoring ability of Parise and Koivu would make us feel better, but since we are going to be without their services for a while, it just didn't seem like it was truthful to keep them in our stats for our game previews.  So you can breathe now.

I can't tell you how much better I feel going into Phoenix (well Glendale) tonight with three consecutive wins under our belts.  Playing the Coyotes is rarely a recipe for success for the Wild, especially on the road.  But then neither is playing Los Angeles, and we thankfully ended that drought Tuesday night.  Sure, it had to go to a shootout with Darcy Kuemper in net, but hardwork and determination paid off.  That and fantastic, upbeat play by Minnesota's young players.  It seemed like Tuesday night was all about Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker.  The veteran players (that we still have left) were a definite disappointment.  They were playing like they were just there to collect their bloated paychecks.  Thank goodness the young kids were there to play to win.  I just hope that when the team watched the game film in preparation for tonight's game, players like Dany Heatley, Matt Cooke, Ryan Suter and Kyle Brodziak saw just how bad they looked.  I also hope that the infectious play of the "kids" rubs off on the more seasoned players, and that they head into tonight's game with some fire and a game plan.

As I've discussed in the past few games, I'm one again going to look at that pesky little last ten games stat.  It definitely helps putting tonight's opponent into perspective.  The Coyotes started the season on fire, and with them in the tough Pacific Division, I know I haven't considered them struggling.  Both Phoenix and Minnesota have 51 points with fairly close records.  So, we're left with looking at those last ten games.  In those last games, the Coyotes are 3-3-4 and won their last game.  Their last ten games are a grab bag of what are considered tough and easy opponents.  They suffered losses to both Columbus and Buffalo in that ten game stretch and only managed wins against Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.  They've had some ugly losses just like the Wild have had some ugly, embarassing losses as well.  However, Phoenix is coming off a 6-0 smackdown on the Flames.  That win could very well act as a statement that says "we're tired of losing and we're coming to get our opponents."  That kind of mentality could be dangerous to the Wild.  Hopefully, the Wild's determined win in Los Angeles can help battle Phoenix's determined win.

I'd like to close this with some upbeat news, but sadly I don't think I can.  It looks like Minnesota will have to deal with Wild-killer Shane Doan tonight, as he's back from injured reserve.  So while we're riddled with injuries, Phoenix just has a few.  Oh well.  The Wild still managed to beat a completely healthy Los Angeles team, so it's possible to do again tonight.  Perhaps some meditation might be needed before tonight.  This season is quickly becoming far more stressful than it needed to be.  Breathe everyone.


Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette