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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 4/13/2013 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (22-16-2)  46pts  2nd in the Northwest

2.48 Goals For (21st)

2.48 Goals Against (12th)

17.9% Power Play (16th)

82.8% Penalty Kill (12th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 9G 24A = 33pts

2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 15G 17A = 32pts

3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 25A = 29pts

4. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 11G 16A = 27pts

5. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 7G 18A = 25pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 100 PIM's

2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 67 PIM's

3. #44 Justin Falk ~ 40 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (20-12-2)  2.38GAA  .914%SP  2SO

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (1-2-0)  1.98GAA  .924%SP

3. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.92GAA  .885%SP  1SO

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Columbus Blue Jackets (18-16-7)  43pts  4th in the Central

2.32 Goals For (27th)

2.46 Goals Against (10th)

13.0% Power Play (28th)

85.0% Penalty Kill (6th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #10 Marian Gaborik ~ 12G 13A = 25pts

2. #22 Vinny Prospal ~ 10G 14A = 24pts

3. #55 Mark Letestu ~ 9G 13A = 22pts

4. #42 Artem Anisimov ~ 11G 7A = 18pts

5. #51 Fedor Tyutin ~ 2G 15A = 17pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #40 Jared Boll ~ 88 PIM's

2. #17 Brandon Dubinsky ~ 49 PIM's

3. #11 Matt Calvert ~ 32 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #72 Sergei Bobrovsky (15-10-6)  2.01GAA  .931%SP  4SO

Click on "Continue Reading" for the rest of the article…

Mikko Koivu

 

Before I get too far, I must warn you.  This is being written on Friday night as I have to be at work early on Saturday morning.  It's been a long, weird week compounded by computer issues at work, which have made my job a nightmare.  Needless to say, I'm tired.  As if that combination wasn't bad enough, this game preview is also being fueled by the tastiest raspberry margarita.  Now considering that the Upper Midwest has been blasted by a winter storm over the past couple of days, it might seem strange that I chose a frozen drink, but it was oh so good.  Needless to say, I'm in a very relaxed state of mind right now.  In fact, I'm so relaxed I could honestly care less about this game.  With the recent string of losses, the players and coaches of the Minnesota Wild could very well see themselves heading to a warm locale next month for a cold drink and tee time.  So in honor of my tasty drink and dinner and the current slide by the Minnesota Wild, I give you this.  Enjoy.

 

I can be serious about the matter however.  The remaining eight games are do or die for the Minnesota Wild.  As fans, we keep hearing from the players about how they're trying their hardest and tje believe we still have a chance at the post-season.  Part of me wonders if they're simply playing us lip service, simply saying what we as fans want to hear.  The absence of the Wild in the playoffs is making fans impatient.  The past two seasons have felt like teasers for fans.  Both of those seasons, it looked like we were going to make it, and then the injury bug hit hard, and ended any hope of a chance at Lord Stanley's Cup.  Now while this season, the team hasn't faced as many injuries, one could argue that the injuries that have happened have essentially turned things for the worse.  The most crucial injury was that to Matt Cullen.  When he went down, he pretty much took the second line with him.  I feel like now all we have is a first line that isn't putting up the points that we expect them to and a fourth line that works hard, but just doesn't have the skills to be an offensive weapon.  The other crucial injury was that to Dany Heatley.  Yes, I realize that there are quite a few fans that are disappointed by his play.  But I want those people to take a look at what he does bring to this team.  With the loss of Heatley, we seem to no longer have a player who is willing to park himself in front of the net and take the abuse of the opposition, to tap in those garbage goals.  They're not highlight goals, but last I looked, thos garbage goals count just as much as the highlight reel goal.  And now, fans we have to wonder about Ryan Suter.  He sat out of Friday's practice in order to give him the chance to rest whatever is ailing him, but at this time, it's anyone's guess whether he'll play Saturday.

It's not all doom and gloom.  As a fan, I know I was happy to read that Jason Zucker has been recalled from Houston.  In fact I was hoping he would have been called up sooner, but alas we can't go back and change the past.  When Zucker came up earlier, some could almost argue that he helped spark the second line of Cullen and Devin Setoguchi.  What is great about Zucker, is that he's not afraid to take shots on goal, and right now that is a much needed skill right now.  Even if that puck doesn't go in, it can generate subsequent shots on goal and scoring chances.  When you consider that we're getting few scoring chances, I'll take a few more shots of goal a game, especially if they end up as goals or at the very least additional shots.  Zucker also has speed, and is willing to carry the puck into the offensive zone, something else we lost with Cullen's injury.  We also lack the speed to play the insipid dump and chase game we keep playing.  With Zucker back, he can skate in after that dumped puck, and hopefully we can get some of those offensive chances back.

All I know, is that I can't handle another loss.  It's time for the end of our losing streak.

 

 

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette