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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 3/2/2017 @ 6:00PM CST at Nationwide Arena

Minnesota Wild (41-14-6)  88pts  1st in the Central

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

2.38 Goals Against Per Game (4th in the NHL)

22.6% Power Play (3rd in the NHL)

83.6% Penalty Kill (8th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 21G 38A = 59pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 17G 31A = 49pts

3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 20G 26A = 46pts

4. #12 Eric Staal ~ 17G 29A = 46pts

5. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 14G 30A = 44pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #7 Chris Stewart ~ 79 PIM’s

2. #21 Ryan White ~ 70 PIM’s

3. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 47 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (34-11-3)  2.05GAA  .932%SP  5SO

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (7-3-3)  3.22GAA  .905%SP

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Columbus Blue Jackets (39-16-6)  84pts  2nd in the Metropolitan

3.23 Goals For Per Game (5th in the NHL)

2.38 Goals Against Per Game (3rd in the NHL)

22% Power Play (6th in the NHL)

82.2% Penalty Kill (10th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #13 Cam Atkinson ~ 29G 24A = 53pts

2. #10 Alexander Wennberg ~ 12G 40A = 52pts

3. #71 Nick Foligno ~ 22G 22A = 44pts

4. #20 Brandon Saad ~ 18G 25A = 43pts

5. #8 Zach Werenski ~ 9G 28A = 37pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #34 Josh Anderson ~ 62 PIM’s

2. #17 Brandon Dubinsky ~ 57 PIM’s

3. #71 Nick Foligno ~ 43 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #72 Sergei Bobrovsky (32-13-4)  2.18GAA  .926%SP  3SO

2. #70 Joonas Korpisalo (5-1-0)  2.74GAA  .914%SP  1SO

Lines:

Columbus Blue Jackets

Jenner~Dubinsky~Atkinson

Foligno~Wennberg~Bjorkstrand

Hartnell~Gagner~Saad

Hannikainen~W. Karlsson~Anderson

Werenski~Jones

Johnson~Savard

Murray~Nutivaara

Bobrovsky

Korpisalo

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Koivu~Granlund

Haula~Hanzal~Coyle

Niederreiter~Staal~White

Stewart~Graovac~Schroeder

Suter~Spurgeon

Brodin~Dumba

Scandella~Prosser

Dubnyk

Kuemper

 

 

For as dull and lackluster as the finish to the Trade Deadline was, I’m glad the Minnesota Wild made the deals they did when they did. Between mumps outbreaks and an injury to Ryan Suter (which is of the day to day variety), having a couple of extra bodies to choose from has certainly reduced strain and anxiety. And I’m sure Iowa is glad that Minnesota brought in players instead of trading away players for picks. Plus, no one can argue about the offensive contributions that Ryan White has made just two games into his tenure with the Wild. Plus, I don’t know about you, but it looks like White and Martin Hanzal are having a blast playing with their new team. It had to be a bit demoralizing at times playing for Arizona, especially for Hanzal. In his 10 years in the desert, he probably felt like he was treading water just to keep from drowning. Now they’re on a team with a legitimate chance at post-season success. If that doesn’t have them giddy like a child on Christmas Day, I don’t know what will. As this team continues to win, the giddiness is team wide.

And back to injury and illness land. There is a chance that Suter will be in the lineup tonight. It sounds like he might be a bit stiff and achy, but that’s better than something truly wrong. If he’s out of the lineup tonight, it might not be such a bad thing. While it would stink to not have him playing tonight, letting him have a night off as we get closer to the post season will help keep him fresh. At this point, it’s up to the trainers whether or not he plays. Sure, Suter will say he’s good to go, but that’s the reason why teams have trainers and medical staff. They’re their to keep the players from overworking themselves and making injuries worse. And then there’s the illness bug. While we’re seeing from Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that there’s no update yet on Jason Pominville, we do have some updates of Zach Parise and assistant coach Scott Stevens. Parise is saying he’s feeling great and has been symptom free. However, he’s on a 5-day isolation from the team. The fifth day is Friday (which is a day off for the team), so hopefully he’ll still be clear and he can practice on Saturday with the team and can rejoin game day action on Sunday against the Sharks. Stevens appears to also be on the mend. Thankfully Bruce Boudreau has been through this situation before, so the 5 day isolation isn’t throwing him for a loop. He thankfully has the depth to make due when someone comes down with the mumps.

If there’s one concern this team should have, it’s team defense. The Wild can score, seemingly at will, most nights. And thank goodness that’s the case this season. Long time fans of this team, are very familiar with teams that just can’t score. There were seasons where it would be a miracle if they could score three goals in game. However, in those seasons, sometimes it would only take three goals because they were more defensively solid and could prevent the opponent from scoring. We’ve seen too many games lately, where they’ve allowed the opponent to score three or more goals. They need to figure that out quickly. Tonight, that could become an issue. Like the Minnesota Wild, the Columbus Blue Jackets can and will score goals. And like the Minnesota Wild, the Columbus Blue Jackets have a great goaltender who stands as the final line of defense. Tonight will most likely be a battle between Devan Dubnyk and Sergei Bobrovsky. I would expect both teams try to pepper the goaltenders on both ends of the ice. And who knows, tonight’s showdown could ultimately be a Stanley Cup Final. Wouldn’t that be an interesting battle come June?

Hopefully we get a better result tonight than we did back on New Year’s Eve. My pride just can’t take another loss to the Blue Jacket. And if Minnesota can keep that blasted cannon quiet, I’ll be quite content.