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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks 11/4/17 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (5-4-2)  12pts  7th in the Central

3.36 Goals For Per Game (9th in the NHL)

2.91 Goals Against Per Game (13th in the NHL)

18.4% Power Play (15th in the NHL)

81% Penalty Kill (16th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 2G 7A = 9pts

2. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 6G 2A = 8pts

3. #12 Eric Staal ~ 4G 4A = 8pts

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

5. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 3G 4A = 7pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 12 PIM’s

2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 8 PIM’s

3. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 7 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (4-3-0-1)  3.03GAA  .905%SP

2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-1-0-1)  2.64GAA  .918%SP

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks (6-5-2)  14pts  5th in the Central

3.15 Goals For Per Game (13th in the NHL)

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

13.6% Power Play (28th in the NHL)

83.3% Penalty Kill (10th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #88 Patrick Kane ~ 5G 8A = 13pts

2. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 4G 6A = 10pts

3. #20 Brandon Saad ~ 6G 3A = 9pts

4. #19 Jonathan Toews ~ 4G 5A = 9pts

5. #14 Richard Panik ~ 5G 3A = 8pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #14 Richard Panik ~ 16 PIM’s

2. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 14 PIM’s

3. #17 Lance Bouma ~ 13 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #50 Corey Crawford (6-4-0-0)  1.92GAA  .941%SP  1SO

2. #31 Anton Forsberg (0-1-0-2)  4.25GAA  .895%SP

Lines:

Chicago Blackhawks

DeBrincat~Toews~Panik

Saad~Schmaltz~Kane

Sharp~Anisimov~Hayden

Bouma~Wingels~Hartman

Keith~Franson

Rutta~Seabrook

Kempny~Murphy

Crawford

Forsberg

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Koivu~Granlund

Niederreiter~Staal~Kunin

Foligno~Eriksson Ek~Stewart

Winnik~Cullen~Ennis

Suter~Spurgeon

Brodin~Dumba

Olfosson~Reilly

Dubnyk

Stalock

 

With it now being November, it is time to prepare for winter. Well that is if you live in the Upper Midwest. Where I live, I’ve already experienced some flurries.  The lawnmower has been stored away, and won’t really be thought of again until April or possibly May. If you’re a gardener, you have planted your tulip and daffodil bulbs and prepared your garden for its winter hibernation. And depending on where in the Upper Midwest you live, you may have even taken the shovel and snowblower out for their inaugural run of the season. We’ve even seen playoff high school football games played in the snow. With this early snow, some people in Minnesota have probably thought back to Halloween 1991. If you lived in the Twin Cities and further north, you were snowed in. The Twin Cities had over 28 inches of snow fall between October 31 and November 3. And if you were in Duluth, it was over 36 inches of snow during that same period. Let’s face it, we’re used to winter, but that kind of snowfall brings life to an absolute halt. Winter weather rarely shuts down life here, but it did. For those of you not from the area would recognize this storm as it was the basis for the movie The Perfect Storm, which tells the story of the Andrea Gail, a fishing boat and its crew from the northeastern United States who were caught out at sea during the storm. While they faced hurricane mixed with nor’easter conditions, we in the Upper Midwest faced extreme winter conditions. I was living in the extreme southeast part of Minnesota. Instead of the snow, we got dangerous ice conditions with some snow on top of it. But while the calendar says on an official level that it’s still fall, the weather conditions have pretty much said it’s already winter.

Between the weather and the not-s0-great play of the Minnesota Wild, I think of the classic line from William Shakespere’s play Richard III, “now is the winter of our discontent.” It’s been hard to watch this team most nights. You’ll have a great game against the Islanders, Penguins, or Canadiens, and then have it followed by a highly disappointing game against the Jets. The sad part of this season, is of our opponents, we’ve really only faced teams much like ourselves. Of our Western Conference opponents, the best team we’ve played so far is Winnipeg. They’re currently sitting in 4th place in the conference and 2nd place in the Central Division. I’m not looking forward to playing Saint Louis, who is currently in first place in the Central Division and in second place in the Western Conference. They’re a hard team to play on a good day, but when they’re playing as well as they have been, I wish we could just skip those games. Not only will they be difficult to earn some much needed points in, but they can be physically damaging as well. The Blues aren’t afraid to hit, and the Wild are a fragile team. It’s a weird Western Conference this year, and while I have a strong feeling that Minnesota will remain near the bottom of the standing, I think this will be an interesting year to see who ends of where they do. And for a team like Edmonton who finally looked like their losing ways were a thing of the past, they are again doing their best catfish impression.

And it’s not just Minnesota having a “winter of our discontent” kind of season. Chicago is also hanging out near the bottom of the standings. This is not a comfortable place for them to be, and I’m sure it’s driving their fans crazy. For their newer fanbase (the ones who only started following the Blackhawks when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010), they don’t know what to do with this version of the Blackhawks. The longtime fans, who suffered during the long Bill Wirtz days know how to weather the storm. Sure they want their team to win, but I’m sure they’re just rolling their eyes at the panicking fans. I can imagine they say to themselves “oh shut up, this is nothing” to those bandwagon fans. If Chicago is finally on the downslide (which I have no problem with), it just might serve to weed out a few these so-called “super” fans who think they know everything about the team, when they really know jack about the Blackhawks. They’ve never suffered a drought and don’t understand what heartache really is. In the meantime, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy the downfall of the Chicago Blackhawks. To those fans who think it will never happen, just look at the Detroit Red Wings. Every team has an expiration date, and we just might be seeing the beginning of the end. Plus seeing the annoyance on the face of Joel Quenneville is worth everything. Heck his facial expressions along with those of Darryl Sutter are some of my favorites when it comes to head coaches.

I can’t say tonight holds great promise, especially since the Blackhawks will be looking for revenge after their last meeting with the Wild. As long as the Wild keep things close and simple and don’t make any epic mistakes (I’m looking at you Matt Dumba), I’ll be content. Not exactly happy, but I can accept a loss if it’s a well-played loss. But if I see lack of trying and lack of focus, then we’ll have issues.