The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #57: Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 2/4/2014 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (29-21-7)  65pts  4th in Central

2.35 Goals For (25th)

2.46 Goals Against (10th)

17.9% Power Play (17th)

80.2% Penalty Kill (22nd)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 22G 17A = 39pts

2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 18G 17A = 35pts

3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 8G 27A = 35pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 6G 27A = 35pts

5. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 5G 23A = 28pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 69 PIM's

2. #24 Matt Cooke ~ 48 PIM's

3. #39 Nate Prosser ~ 35 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

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

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (6-3-2)   2.63GAA   .913SV%   1SO

3. #32 Niklas Backstrom (5-11-2)   3.02GAA   .899SV%






Tampa Bay Lightning (32-18-5)  69pts  2nd in Metropolitan

2.84 Goals For (8th)

2.44 Goals Against (9th)

17.0% Power Play (20th)

80.4% Penalty Kill (20th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #26 Martin St. Louis ~ 25G 28A = 53pts 

2. #51 Valterri Filppula ~ 19G 21A = 40pts

3. #77 Victor Hedman ~ 11G 25A = 36pts

4. #9 Tyler Johnson ~ 17G 18A = 35pts

5. #17 Alex Killorn ~ 13G 19A = 32pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #7 Radko Gudas ~ 108 PIM's

2. #19 B.J. Crombeen ~ 67 PIM's

3. #12 Ryan Malone ~ 53 PIM's

Top Goaltenders:

1. #30 Ben Bishop (27-7-4)  1.98GAA  .933%SP  4SO

2. #39 Anders Lindback (5-11-1)  3.23GAA  .880%SP

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Martin St. Louis & Mikael Granlund


Good news, bad news.

Well the good news, if you can call it that, it appears that Tampa Bay will still be without Steven Stamkos.  The bad news is, is that it most likely won't make much of a difference.  Stamkos has been out since mid-November with a broken leg that required surgery.  Sure, those in Tampa are missing having Stamkos in the lineup (especially with those critical merchandise sales over the Christmas holidays), but his teammates have been able to compensate for his absence.  Even with the absence of their young star, older vets like Martin St. Louis is still having a great season of his own.  I'm pretty sure that had Stamkos been in the lineup, he'd probably be leading Tampa in points, but something tells me that it would still be close between Stamkos and St. Louis.  The one place where coaches, players, and fans are wishing they'd had Stamkos in the game, is in the standings.  Right now, the Lightning are just four points behind the Boston Bruins, who lead the Atlantic Division.  With the Olympic Break just upon us, I could see the Lightning making a big push to overtake the Bruins when the regular season resumes.  Having Stamkos back in their lineup will certainly help.

On the Wild injury front, we may or may not still be completely healthy prior to the Olympic Break.  Right now, it's still up in the air whether or not defenseman Jared Spurgeon tonight.  Personally, I haven't missed him one bit.  I know I'm going to catch quite a bit of grief for this, but I honestly don't like Spurgeon's game.  He's small, and I don't feel he brings much to the game.  I would be much, much happier going with the defensemen we've been playing during his absence.  Of course with Spurgeon returning soon, we'll most likely be benching Nate Prosser.  For an unphysical, soft team like the Wild, it was nice having Prosser be willing to fight the battles that no one else was willing to fight.  The other injury elephant in the room is Mikko Koivu.  He's skating again. but has yet to be cleared to play.  And with it being as close as it is to the Olympics, it's unsure whether or not he'll be playing in Sochi.  Now normally, I get nervous when players head into international play in the middle of the season, but this is one time where a player needs to play in the Olympics.  If Koivu is prevented playing due to not being medically cleared, it means it will be almost another month before he's allowed to play in an actual game.  Sure, he's working out and skating, but we all know there's a major difference between practice and competition.

I don't know what to think about tonight.  Considering the emotional roller coaster we've been on so far this season, I'm looking forward to this mid-season break.  I need a bit of a refresher.  I'm hoping that when the NHL season resumes at the end of the month, every comes back refreshed and with a decided sense of urgency.  With their roster, the Wild should be better than their record shows.  I don't see them overtaking Colorado in the standings, but they need to make the push that fully cements that Wild Card spot.  And I know I would be much happier if they would lock in the 7th spot as opposed to the 8th spot.  If Minnesota keeps playing as they have, they'll be lucky to nab the 8th spot.  So with the break coming up and players returning from injury, it will be telling to see how everyone comes back.  I dread how the Wild play after more than two days off.  I shudder to think what it's going to be like after almost a month off.  Well hopefully, they don't completely let us down. 


Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette