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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild @ Detroit Red Wings 10/5/17 @ 6:30PM CST at Little Caesar’s Arena

All stats are from the 2016-17 regular season (team and individual stats for players returning from last season) after this game we will use 2017-18 totals

Minnesota Wild (49-25-8)  106pts  2nd in the Central

3.21 Goals For Per Game (2nd in the NHL)

2.51 Goals Against Per Game (7th in the NHL)

21.0% Power Play (9th in the NHL)

82.9% Penalty Kill (8th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 26G 43A = 69pts

2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 28G 37A = 65pts

3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 18G 40A = 58pts

4. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 25G 32A = 57pts

5. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 18G 38A = 56pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 94 PIM’s

2. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 59 PIM’s

3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 53 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (40-19-5)  2.25GAA  .923%SP  5SO

2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-1-0)  1.51GAA  .944%SP

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Detroit Red Wings (33-36-13)  79pts  7th in the Atlantic

2.41 Goals For Per Game (26th in the NHL)

2.98 Goals Against Per Game (26th in the NHL)

15.1% Power Play (27th in the NHL)

80.8% Penalty Kill (16th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #40 Henrik Zetterberg ~ 17G 51A = 68pts

2. #14 Gustav Nyquist ~ 12G 36A = 48pts

3. #21 Tomas Tatar ~ 25G 21A = 46pts

4. #51 Frans Nielsen ~ 17G 24A = 41pts

5. #39 Anthony Mantha ~ 17G 19A = 36pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #52 Jonathan Ericsson ~ 63 PIM’s

2. #39 Anthony Mantha ~ 53 PIM’s

3. #61 Xavier Ouellet ~ 51 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #34 Petr Mrazek (18-21-9)  3.04GAA  .901%SP  1SO

2. #35 Jimmy Howard (10-11-1)  2.10GAA  .927%SP  1SO

Projected Lines:

Detroit Red Wings

Tatar-Zetterberg-Nyquist

Mantha-Larkin-Frk

Abdelkader-Nielsen-Helm

Booth-Sheahan-Glendening

Dekeyser-Daley

Ericsson-Green

Ouellet-Jensen

Howard

Mrazek

Minnesota Wild

Niederrreiter-Staal-Coyle

Zucker-Koivu-Granlund

Foligno-Eriksson Ek-Stewart

Winnik-Cullen-Ennis

Suter-Dumba

Brodin-Spurgeon

Quincey-Reilly

Dubnyk

Stalock

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast. For people like myself, who only follow hockey, the off-season was like one big, extended commercial break. Or pledge drive, if you watch a lot of public television. Now mind you, in the world of television, as in life, you need those breaks. Real life has a way of falling by the wayside during the hockey season, so many things were accomplished during the off-season. First off, getting caught up on sleep. Then of course, are the household projects that didn’t get done. Most of us have jobs or are in school to keep us busy during the day. When you come home, you usually have just enough time to change into some comfy clothes and have a bite to eat before the game starts. Of course, once the game is over, it’s time to go to bed to get ready for the next day. On the days where there aren’t games, I think most of us try to find ways to relax after a stressful day of work or school, so many projects get pushed aside. For many people, big projects often get set aside for the summer. Even though most people are working during the summer, it’s the nice weather that allows for these projects to be done. They can range from having a new roof put on the house, to landscaping the yard, to building a new deck. Since the vast majority of Wild fans live in locations where winter is truly winter, you can’t build a deck when you’re snowed in. I’m sure if you’re desperate enough you could if you really wanted to, but do you really want to build a deck when it’s -20F?

Summer is also the time, where if you’re going to move it’s generally the time you do it. Tonight’s opponent, completed their move this summer. Now, Detroit started moving in 2013-14 with the NHL’s realignment. Actually, they really didn’t move, but more like preparation to the move. They hired a realtor and started packing some boxes and storing them for when they truly move. When the Red Wings moved from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference, it made sense. They were one of two Western Conference teams that were in the Eastern Time Zone. The Red Wings were also one of a few teams playing in “ancient” arenas. The Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, and Edmonton Oilers have since moved into new homes, although of those three, the Islanders haven’t exactly been pleased with their new digs. If Canadian contractor and DIY-star Mike Holmes did a show about sport facilities, Barclays Center would be torn apart and rebuilt by his crew. The New York Rangers are one of those teams that I doubt will ever move from Madison Square Garden, so they are the last of the teams in old arenas. This season, it is time for the Detroit Red Wings to host a league-wide house warming party. They have said good bye to the storied Joe Louis Arena and are saying hello to Little Caesar’s Arena. In this day and age of corporate naming of sports facilities, this one makes sense. Not only is it a corporate sponsor, it also pays tribute to Mike Ilitch, their former owner who passed away in February of this year. He founded Little Caesar’s Pizza and purchased the Red Wings in 1982. Many Red Wings fans are hoping that the new house will help their team bounce back from last season’s disappointment. However, I think they still have some building to do. The house may be finished, but not everything is in its correct spot on the inside, and there are probably some purchases that need to be made as far as roster spots. The Red Wings are one of those teams that have known ups and downs. When they’re ‘up’ they’re really up, as they’re one of top NHL teams in history. However, they’ve known quite a few lows as well. When they’re on the downward slide, they are really low. Lucky for Red Wings faithful, they generally have people behind the scenes who know how to build for success and to spot talent. If the Red Wings miss the playoffs again this season, don’t worry. I have a feeling they’ll be back in the playoff hunt soon enough. Trust me, they’re not the Edmonton Oilers or Colorado Avalanche.

The Minnesota Wild had off-season projects of their own, just like every other team in the league. 30 teams this year had to figure out who to protect so the Las Vegas Golden Knights could have an expansion draft. I’m still a bit ticked at how they were basically handed a golden ticket when it came to the expansion draft. Ask longtime Wild or Columbus Blue Jackets fans about the dregs of the league they got to pick from when they came into the league. I don’t care how much money the Las Vegas owner had to pay the league to have a team. They should have received the same kind of ridiculous players to choose from. Then of course there was the Entry Draft to deal with. Minnesota didn’t have a lot of picks, so it’s my hope that General Manager Chuck Fletcher is more judicious in his trades over the next few seasons, and that he doesn’t deal so many draft picks. The cupboards are feeling a bit bare, and it’s time to start stockpiling some talent for the future. Next was free agency and working out terms with current and recently acquired players. Every Wild fans needs to be sending out prayers to the deity of their choosing that the Wild stay healthy, as there is little room in the salary cap. While many of us were excited to acquire Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, their contracts along with Mikko Koivu tie up a lot of cap space. It also doesn’t help matters that Parise is starting out this season as day-to-day. That’s a lot of money right there to be sitting up in the press box for however long it takes him to get healthy again.

The first couple of months of an NHL season generally give us an idea if off-season projects (new buildings, new teams, new players, new coaches, new general managers) pay off. Some of course take longer to know the lasting effects. As long as projects are done right the first time (measure twice, cut once), they generally pay off. But then as humans, we like to see the train wrecks happen…well as long as they don’t directly impact us.