The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game #66: Minnesota Wild vs Colorado, Sunday March 4th, 2012 at 6:00pm (CST), Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (28-27-10) 66 4th Northwest 2.11 (30) 2.62 (11) 15.2% (23)

82.7% (11)

Colorado Avalanche
(33-29-4) 70 2nd Northwest 2.46 (23) 2.71 (16) 18.1% (13) 81.8% (17)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 20 26 46
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 10 27 37
3. #7 Matt Cullen 14 19 33
4. #21 Kyle Brodziak 16 16 32
5. #10 Devin Setoguchi 16 12 28
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 95
2. #4 Clayton Stoner 47
3. #26 Matt Kassian 45
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (17-17-6) 2.44 .920
2. #37 Josh Harding (9-10-4) 2.78 .912
3. #31 Matt Hackett (2-0-0) 0.63 .980
Colorado Avalanche
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #37 Ryan O’Reilly 16 34 50
2. #92 Gabriel Landeskog 18 23 41
3. #26 Paul Stastny 16 25 41
4. #27 Steve Downie 14 21 35
5. #23 Milan Hejduk 13 21 34
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #55 Cody McLeod 143
2. #27 Steve Downie 127
3. #5 Shane O’Brien 87
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #1 Semyon Varlamov (18-19-2) 2.76 .907
2. #35 Jean-Sebastien Giguere (15-10-2) 2.23 .920
. .

Yes people, the season is over.  I know, officially there’s over a month left, but if you think the Wild still have a chance of the post season I’m worried about you.  If you’re this delusional about the Wild, I’m very concerned how you handle with the hurdles that real life deals you.  If you still think the Wild are heading to the playoffs, I suggest you find professional help or at the very least, take up yoga.  And if you still don’t believe me, I suggest you either pick up a newspaper.  The current stories are already centering on looking at next year, most notably looking at the prospects.

Today, I pull up the Wild’s coverage on the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  Not only was the top article about the prospects, and how quite a few of them will find themselves going pro next season (either in St. Paul or Houston), but to clarify matters even more, there was an actual depth chart of those prospects.  If you dig a little further, you will realize that next season’s roster will most likely look much different than what we have right now.  Many current players will be free agents (either restricted or unrestricted) after this season or next season.  Add that to the fact that the Wild shed some salary at the trade deadline last week, they now have room to sign prospects and still have room to make a run at some of the big free agents this off season.  The free agents that most teams are looking at this off-season are Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber.  Minnesota needs one or two (and truly we could use all three), but trust me, it will become an all out bidding war this summer.  It will be interesting to see if the Wild can even attract one of them to Minnesota.  I don’t know about you, but I think it will be difficult because most unrestricted free agents want to go to teams that actually have a chance at a Stanley Cup.

With Friday night’s abysmal outing in Detroit, I’m not expecting great things tonight.  Once again, we find ourselves down another two players with Cal Clutterbuck and Nick Palmieri currently suffering from upper body injuries.  With those injuries, the Wild have called up Chad Rau and new acquisition Steve Kampfer.  At this point in the season with injuries and call ups, all Minnesota can hope for is to stop the bleeding and on occasion play spoiler.  However, I’m not sure if the Wild even have it in them to play spoiler for those playoff bound teams.  Lately, we’ve seen a defeated teams.  With defeated teams, it becomes a mental game.  If you’re defeated it’s often near impossible to overcome those mental stumbling blocks. 

So here’s to the beginning of the end. 

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), Cal Clutterbuck (upper body, questionable), Nick Palmieri (upper body, questionable)   

Ryan O’Byrne (knee), Chuck Kobasew (back, questionable)       

Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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