The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #63: Minnesota Wild vs Los Angeles Kings, Tuesday February 28, 2012 at 7:00pm (CST), Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (27-25-9) 63 4th Northwest 2.14 (29) 2.52 (9) 15.8% (22)

82.9% (10)

Los Angeles Kings
(28-22-12) 68 3rd Pacific 2.06 (30) 2.06 (3) 15.9% (23) 87.0% (4)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 19 26 45
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 10 27 37
3. #7 Matt Cullen 14 18 32
4. #21 Kyle Brodziak 16 15 31
5. #10 Devin Setoguchi 15 11 26
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 89
2. #4 Clayton Stoner 47
3. #21 Kyle Brodziak 45
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (17-16-6) 2.37 .923
2. #37 Josh Harding (9-9-3) 2.59 .919
3. #31 Matt Hackett (2-0-0) 0.68 .979
Los Angeles Kings
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #11 Anze Kopitar 17 35 52
2. #14 Justin Williams 12 29 41
3. #23 Dustin Brown 18 18 36
4. #10 Mike Richards 14 17 31
5. #8 Drew Doughty 7 20 27
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #13 Kyle Clifford 99
2. #10 Mike Richards 59
3. #8 Drew Doughty 54
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Jonathan Quick (25-18-11) 1.92 .932
2. #45 Jonathan Bernier (3-5-1)  2.50 .903
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By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the news.  And let me preface it by saying I’m glad it happened, as it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Yes, one of the two last remaining players who were with the Wild when they went all the way to the Western Conference Finals in 2003 will now call Edmonton home.  That player being Nick Schultz.  He was moved in exchange for Minnesota-native Tom Gilbert.  My mind still isn’t made up about Gilbert, as I’ve heard nothing but mixed reviews from the Oilers’ fans.  Considering that the Oilers are actually worse record-wise than the Wild, I’m going to take negative reviews with a grain of salt until l see what Gilbert does on the ice with my own eyes. 

As for Schultz himself, I’ll admit I was surprised.  He was one of those players I didn’t even have on my trade radar.  I along with many fans were thinking it would be more likely that we moved Josh Harding to a team that needed a solid backup goaltender for the playoffs.  However, I am far from upset that he was traded.  I am not sentimental about players.  Yes, he was a member of the Wild for many years, but he’s seemed so invisible for so long.  Now there are times I wished Marek Zidlicky was more invisible, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.  What frustrated me about Schultz, is that he seemed to work really hard to shy away from physicality.  If you’re going to be a stay at home defenseman, you better be willing to get your nose dirty.  If you’re not, you better be putting up points.  Schultz did neither.  The Wild have needed to address their blueline for years.  I just hope they’re not finished with that yet.  However, to Nick Schultz, I wish him nothing but the best.

In other Wild defenseman news, they also moved Greg Zanon.  Zanon is now with the Boston Bruins in exchange for Steven Kampfer.  I’m really not sure about this trade.  He was a bigger guy who wasn’t afraid of the puck or getting dirty, but he had outlived his usefulness, finding himself scratched often enough.  However, he was traded for a guy for proportions more like Jared Spurgeon, meaning tiny.  I just hope he plays with the same kind of heart as Spurgeon.  When it comes to Zanon, I still think of a mini-interview of him in a Wild game program.  Did you know that Zanon hates peas?  I always thought that was kind of funny, as I don’t know how a person can really hate that particular vegetable.

I’m not sure the Wild can really be deemed “sellers” this year.  It’s not like we traded off our most valuable assets.  We simply exchanged some pieces for some different pieces.  The better analogy would be that of hunters and gatherers.  This year at the trade deadline, I think we were more of the “gatherer” variety.  Let’s face it, we’re not seriously in the playoff hunt.  We simply needed to some gather some pieces in trade to use as building blocks when free agency opens up in July. 

Injury Report:

Minnesota:  Mikko Koivu (undisclosed, questionable), Mike Lundin (lower body), Carson McMillan (lower body), Clayton Stoner (hip), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),  Clayton Stoner (leg)    

Los Angeles
Scott Parse (hip surgery), Simon Gagne (concussion), Kevin Westgarth (bruised hand)   

Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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