The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Florida Panthers 12/22/17 @ 6:30PM CST at Bank Atlantic Center

Minnesota Wild (18-13-3)  39pts  6th in the Central

2.88 Goals For Per Game (17th in the NHL)

2.88 Goals Against Per Game (14th in the NHL)

20.4% Power Play (11th in the NHL)

83.5% Penalty Kill (5th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 14G  17A = 31pts

2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 14G  11A = 25pts

3. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 7G 14A = 21pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G  17A = 21pts

5. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 6G  12A = 18pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 24 PIM’s

2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 22 PIM’s

3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 20 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #32 Alex Stalock (6-5-0-1)  2.80GAA  .913%SP  1SO

2. #31 Steve Michalek N/A






Florida Panthers (13-16-5)  31pts  6th in the Atlantic

2.82 Goals For Per Game (19th in the NHL)

3.38 Goals Against Per Game (29th in the NHL)

17.8% Power Play (20th in the NHL)

80.2% Penalty Kill (19th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #21 Vincent Trocheck ~ 13G 21A = 34pts

2. #11 Jonathan Huberdeau ~ 9G 23A = 32pts

3. #16 Alexander Barkov ~ 11G 19A = 30pts

4. #63 Evgenii Dadonov ~ 7G 14A = 21pts

5. #3 Keith Yandle ~ 3G 16A = 19pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #18 Michael Haley ~ 75 PIM’s

2. #5 Aaron Ekblad ~ 40 PIM’s

3. #19 Mike Matheson ~ 26 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #34 James Reimer (7-9-0-4)  3.38GAA  .901%SP

2. #29 Harri Sateri N/A


Florida Panthers










Minnesota Wild



Eriksson Ek~Winnik~Stewart








Working in customer and technical service, this is not exactly the happiest time of the year. Yesterday near the end of my shift, I received some decidedly holiday angst. While trying to help someone with their issue, I got told to “well f*** you.” It was one of those people who wasn’t accepting that I had the correct answer, that it was not going to work for them, and clearly they were angry with life in general. It didn’t matter that it’s Christmas in a few days, they were going to take that anger out on someone else. In fact they took it out on two people. As a supervisor, the call got transferred to me after they had vented their anger out on another employee. I have a feeling they called back trying to see if someone else could fix their issue immediately (which they can’t) and then dumped on that fellow co-worker. When I encounter those kinds of people, I wish the worst imagined version of Krampus to come visit their house for the holiday. When you treat other people like that, you don’t deserve “visions of sugar plums dancing through your heads.” So while St. Nick brings me delightful gifts, Krampus will be bringing you coal at best and punishment at worst. So yes, be kind to customer service people these next few days. Remember, that while you are spending the holiday with your family, many of us are away from our families and are getting yelled at.

So tonight and tomorrow, the Wild have back-to-back games in the most un-Christmas like locations, Florida. No snow on the ground (although I can’t say we have much up here in the northern United States). No ice on the lakes, ponds, and rivers. No frosted windows. I have to giggle when I see television shows or movies that take place in Florida at Christmas, and they have a flocked Christmas tree. Seriously, who are you trying to fool? But here are with two teams, that couldn’t be much different. Tonight the Florida Panthers and tomorrow the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tonight’s opponent sits near the bottom of the Atlantic Division with the Lightning at the top. Heck, Tampa Bay sits at the top of the entire league. However, I’m not sure which team is going to be the Wild’s St. Nick and which will be Krampus. Considering how unpredictable the Wild are in general, we could end up with two wins, a win and a loss, or two losses. Even worse, there is the possibility that we could see an embarrassing  loss against Florida and a win against Tampa Bay. I think most fans would agree with me, but we have a Minnesota Wild that we cannot trust on a nightly basis, and that’s what makes this season so hard.

To get a win tonight, we’re going to need more of what we saw Tuesday night in Ottawa. No, not allowing a player like Erik Karlsson score two goals. What I’m talking about is getting scoring from all sorts of players. It’s one thing to get two goals from Eric Staal, but when you’re also getting Chris Stewart, Nate Prosser, and Jonas Brodin you have a good chance of winning. We’ve had nights where we only get goals from people like Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba. And lately, Dumba seems to have been the only player capable of scoring goals. But it’s hard to win games when only one or two people score goals. Tuesday night’s game was the first game in a long time where we saw significant scoring from both forwards and defensemen. And let’s face it, when you get a goal from Nate Prosser, everyone ends up feeling pretty good. I don’t know how he’s not been nominated for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship, but he definitely should be a frontrunner. He never complains about ice time, or lack thereof. He always shows up to practice. And most importantly, he is willing to play whatever role his coach asks of him. He has been in and out of the Wild lineup since the 2009-10 season, including a stopover in Saint Louis to start this season. I suppose what keeps Prosser out of the running for the Lady Byng is that one of the criteria for the award is “high standard of playing ability.” Let’s face it, for as great as he is in the locker room and as positive as he is in the bench or press box, he is not going to show up regularly in the box score. While he won’t win any league awards, he should be an award winner with Wild fans.

I worry about this game. This feels like a classic trap game. You know, when you face a team that’s having a season much like your own, there’s a good chance you won’t see a positive outcome. Hopefully the Christmas spirit will inspire the Wild and St. Nick will leave some great presents for the Wild tonight and tomorrow. Krampus can come to Florida, but he needs to punish both home teams instead.