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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Buffalo Sabres 11/22/2017 @ 6:00PM CST at KeyBank Center

Minnesota Wild (9-8-3)  21pts  7th in the Central

2.95 Goals For Per Game (16th in the NHL)

2.70 Goals Against Per Game (8th in the NHL)

20% Power Play (14th in the NHL)

84.3% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 7G 11A = 18pts

2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 11G 5A = 16pts

3. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 3G 12A = 15pts

4. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 4G 8A = 12pts

5. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 3G 9A = 12pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 16 PIM’s

2. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 14 PIM’s

3. #12 Eric Staal ~ 12 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (8-6-0-2)  2.57GAA  .918%SP  3SO

2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-2-0-1)  2.56GAA  .927%SP

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Buffalo Sabres (5-12-4)  14pts  8th in the Atlantic

2.29 Goals For Per Game (31st in the NHL)

3.48 Goals Against Per Game (28th in the NHL)

14.9% Power Play (30th in the NHL)

84.1% Penalty Kill (8th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #9 Evander Kane ~ 12G 8A = 20pts

2. #15 Jack Eichel ~ 5G 12A = 17pts

3. #90 Ryan O’Reilly ~ 7G 9A = 16pts

4. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 6G 7A = 13pts

5. #23 Sam Reinhart ~ 4G 5A = 9pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #9 Evander Kane ~ 22 PIM’s

2. #15 Jack Eichel ~ 14 PIM’s

3. #17 Jordan Nolan ~ 13 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Robin Lehner (4-8-0-2)  3.08GAA  .903%SP  1SO

2. #31 Chad Johnson (1-4-0-2)  3.36GAA  .891%SP

Lines:

Buffalo Sabres

Kane~O’Reilly~Reinhart

Pouliot~Larsson~Okposo

Girgensons~Eichel~Pominville

Nolan~Criscuolo~Griffith

Scandella~Falk

McCabe~Beaulieu

Gorges~Antipin

Lehner

Johnson

Minnesota Wild

Foligno~Staal~Niederreiter

Zucker~Granlund~Koivu

Winnik~Eriksson Ek~Kunin

Ennis~Cullen~Coyle

Suter~Spurgeon

Brodin~Dumba

Quincey~Reilly

Dubnyk

Stalock

 

Hello everyone. For many of us, we will be busy with much travel this weekend. If you’re like us, you will be heading out tomorrow after work or Thursday morning (especially if you have the quick trip to grandma’s house). And if you’re especially lucky, like Derek and I are, we both have half days tomorrow and can get on the road before most of you are done with work. For me, Thanksgiving is probably my absolute favorite holiday of the year. You get a long weekend. You get to hang out with family (sure, for some of you that might be a curse than a blessing). You don’t have to try and impress anyone with the perfect gift like you feel pressured to do for Christmas. Plus, it’s probably one of the best meals of the year. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. In some families, we had particular dishes that have some importance in your family’s history. In my family, we’d have lefse on the table.

Now, I’m going to take you back in time about five or so years ago. We normally spend Thanksgiving with Derek’s family. On the table, along with the basics, we add green bean casserole and a wild rice casserole. Well, we had just sat down to begin our feast. Derek absolutely loves green bean casserole. He put his first bite on his fork and proceeded to put it in his mouth. Just moments after putting that first bite in his mouth he utters the words “there’s something wrong with this, it tastes like sh*t.” Well Derek’s sister-in-law tries to find the good in everything and says “oh, it can’t be that bad.” So she takes a bite, after which she also says “there’s something wrong with this.” Each person took a bite, not wanting to believe the others at the table. Finally my mother-in-law takes a bite and agrees there’s a problem. My brother-in-law gets up from the table, finds the container of the French’s brand French fried onions, and discovers that the container was at least five years old. She had purchased a large container, and she only uses this particular ingredient once a year. So needless to say, we were all disappointed that one of the favorite side dishes was unable to be enjoyed.

Well Tuesday night’s game was a lot like that infamous green bean casserole of the above story. When the game started, the New Jersey Devils really didn’t look like they cared to play hockey that night (much like I was tired and didn’t really feel like watching a game). However, the Wild looked far more inclined to play. They were getting the shots on goal. In that first period, Minnesota had 12 shots on goal compared to New Jersey’s mere 3. So you would think, hey the Wild just might be okay. Well just like that disappointing green bean casserole, there was disappointment to be had. With less than 90 seconds remaining in the first period, the Devils would get the first goal of the game. Yes, a goal with just three shots on goal. Now most teams wouldn’t have a problem preventing a goal with just three shots. However those teams don’t have the rail thin body of Gustav Olofsson camped out in front of his goaltender. Instead of clearing opposing bodies in front of his goaltenders, he just stands there with his frail body, and pucks just bounce off him and past his goaltender. Olofsson was on the ice for two of the four goals scored by the Devils. And this wasn’t the first night he’s had opposing goals go off him. It’s gotten to the point where when I see he’s on the ice, I want to find the nearest blanket fort, because I know there’s a good chance that the Wild are going to give up a goal.

And then there’s the other rancid version of the Wild’s green bean casserole. Let’s talk about personnel on the power play. Raise your hand if you’re sick and tired of always seeing Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter on the power play? I know I am. I just can’t express just how utterly ineffective they are on the power play. One of the more overused phrases, is the one that provides a definition of insanity: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Personally, I prefer the version from Urban Dictionary (if you don’t like swearing, skip ahead a sentence): “The definition of insanity is doing the exact same fucking thing over and over again, expecting shit to change. That. Is. Crazy.” Seriously, we keep putting them out there, and nothing changes. Well except maybe the blood pressure of the fans. Tuesday night, Koivu had 23:11 in ice time, the most of all forwards. Again, I ask WHY? Mikael Granlund only trailed him by about a minute and a half. But instead, players like Jason Zucker only had 18:31 in ice time. Do you see a problem here? And then there’s Suter. He had 28:45 in ice time. Both Koivu and Suter were supposed to come off the ice after their shift during the overtime. But instead of coming to the bench, they stayed on the ice. We all saw what happened. Hell, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just like that bad green bean casserole.

Now, we get to venture to Buffalo. This is a trap game of epic proportions. They’re the second to worst team in the league, and the worst in the Eastern Conference. They’re one point out of last place in the league and they’re on a three-game losing streak. Then you add the much-maligned by Wild fans Jason Pominville on the Sabres roster, and you’re sure to see a tragedy on ice. Buffalo has been one of those teams that has turned the Wild season around. However, with how up and down (and in general bad) this season has been, this has the opportunity to seal the deal on the end of Minnesota’s season before it’s even really begun. We need the Wild to continue to get the shots on goal. Even in the losing effort against the Devils, the Wild got 36 shots on goal. Let’s face it, Robin Lehner is not Cory Schneider. Get the shots on the goal, get Olofsson to do his job, and Minnesota could come out on top. Or they could end up as the horrid green bean casserole with the spoiled French fried onions.

And since Thanksgiving essentially harkens the start of the Christmas shopping season, I think you will appreciate the sequel to our story about the bad green bean casserole. For Christmas that year, as a bonus gift, we wrapped up a container of fresh French fried onions for Derek’s mom. It provided a good laugh for everyone. Of course, every year now, we make sure to ask my mother-in-law before makes the casserole if the French fried onions are good. However, we’ve avoided any more catastrophes since Derek’s brother has pretty much taken over the task of making the green bean casserole. Perhaps sometime I’ll tell you all the tale of the year my mother-in-law failed to have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and the dire consequences it had for me about one month later. There’s a reason why the job of making said pumpkin pie falls to me now.