Minnesota Wild (35-22-9) 79pts 4th in the Central
2.36 Goals For (26th)
2.36 Goals Against (5th)
18.4% Power Play (15th)
80.6% Penalty Kill (22nd)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 24G 22A = 46pts
2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 23G 20A = 43pts
3. #26 Matt Moulson ~ 18G 22A = 40pts
4. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 8G 29A = 37pts
5. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 6G 29A = 35pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 78 PIM's
2. #24 Matt Cooke ~ 52 PIM's
3. #8 Cody McCormick ~ 45 PIM's
1. #35 Darcy Kuemper (12-4-3) 2.25GAA .922%SP 2SO
2. #30 Ilya Bryzgalov (5-8-7) 1.85GAA .909%SP 1SO
Columbus Blue Jackets (34-26-6) 74pts 3rd in the Metropolitan
2.86 Goals For (8th)
2.74 Goals Against (17th)
18.3% Power Play (16th)
81.9% Penalty Kill (17th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #19 Ryan Johansen ~ 26G 24A = 50pts
2. #17 Brandon Dubinsky ~ 13G 28A = 41pts
3. #21 James Wisniewski ~ 6G 33A = 39pts
4. #71 Nick Foligno ~ 17G 19A = 36pts
5. #13 Cam Atkinson ~ 18G 16A = 36pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #17 Brandon Dubinsky ~ 92 PIM's
2. #71 Nick Foligno ~ 83 PIM's
3. #21 James Wisniewski ~ 51 PIM's
1. #72 Sergei Bobrovsky (25-16-4) 2.50GAA .918%SP 3SO
2. #31 Curtis McElhinney (8-9-1) 2.83GAA .907%SP 2SO
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I'm the first to admit that I don't know everything about the game of hockey. I know quite a bit, but not everything. And that's perfectly fine by me. However, there are plenty of so-called fans that can make me look like an absolute genius. I don't know if that's a good thing for me or a bad thing for them. Case in point. Right now, I'm listening to Minnesota's weekly hockey show Beyond the Pond on KFAN radio. Fasten your seatbelt folks for this prime example of stupidity. A caller calls and asks if we shouldn't be playing Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding. And to make it even more ridiculous, the caller thought Backstrom should be the starter, with Harding serving as backup. Um, welcome to two seasons ago. Backstrom has been pretty much a non-entity this season and even though he's practicing again, I think that Harding's days are coming to an end. So thank you Mr. Clueless for making me feel like a candidate for Mensa.
Tonight, Minnesota plays host to the Columbus Blue Jackets. I have never enjoyed playing Columbus. Right now, the Blue Jackets are solidifying their spot in the Metropolitan Division. Looking at the Eastern Conference standings, Columbus should be thanking their lucky stars that they landed in the Eastern Conference when realignment happened. Right now, if they keep playing as they have, Columbus has a pretty much a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. If they were still in the Western Conference, they'd be fighting for a Wild Card spot. So while the fans in Columbus are feeling like they're on top of the world, I'm just going to nod and smile because hey, it's the Eastern Conference.
Minnesota on the other hand needs to be able to focus tonight. They cannot afford to focus on the standings. They can only focus on the game at hand. If we get a more intense and determined version of Thursday night's game against the Rangers, the Wild should come out ahead tonight. However, if they get up and play content with the lead (a la Edmonton, New York Islanders, etc.) Columbus should be able to take advantage of the situation. Of course, we can always hope for a controversial call tonight, as is typical in a Minnesota-Columbus game. We haven't had one of those for a while, so we're probably due for one. Now if past history is anything to base those calls on, they usually go in the favor of Minnesota. However, now with us in different conferences, knowing our luck, history will change. I can only hope that is not the case.
As I'm writing this, I'm enjoying the 2014 Paralympic gold medal game in sled hockey between the United States and host nation, Russia. While I often get a bit jaded with the world of professional sports, and from time to time, the Olympics themselves, the Paralympic Games seems to be more "true to the spirit" of the games. These are athletes who have either overcome disabilities from birth or the loss of a limb later in life. Watching the sled hockey final, I'm just completely impressed by the pure athleticism of it all. These men are playing on a full size, international sheet of ice,and are using their arms to move and shoot. Now while it appears that goals are harder to come by, it is still a fast game and the players can definitely get a quick shot off. If you're not watching this game, you're missing out.
I'm not feeling overly confident about tonight. At this point, I think if we get at least one point tonight it might be the best we can hope for. Yes, I know that's sad.