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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Montreal Canadiens 11/9/17 @ 6:30PM CST at Bell Centre

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

3.00 Goals For Per Game (15th in the NHL)

3.07 Goals Against Per Game (19th in the NHL)

17.8% Power Play (18th in the NHL)

82.7% Penalty Kill (10th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 5G 6A = 11pts

2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 5G 5A = 10pts

3. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 2G 8A = 10pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 7A = 9pts

5. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 6G 2A = 8pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 14 PIM’s

2. #19 Luke Kunin ~ 11 PIM’s

3. #12 Eric Staal ~ 10 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (4-6-0-1)  3.04GAA   .903%SP

2. #35 Niklas Svedberg N/A

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Montreal Canadiens (7-8-1)  15pts  6th in the Atlantic

2.69 Goals For Per Game (22nd in the NHL)

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

15.9% Power Play (24th in the NHL)

74.1% Penalty Kill (29th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Brendan Gallagher ~ 7G 5A = 12pts

2. #92 Jonathan Drouin ~ 3G 8A = 11pts

3. #6 Shea Weber ~ 3G 8A = 11pts

4. #67 Max Pacioretty ~ 6G 4A = 10pts

5. #24 Phillip Danault ~ 3G 7A = 10pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #65 Andrew Shaw ~ 20 PIM’s

2. #26 Jeff Petry ~ 10 PIM’s

3. #34 Michael McCarron ~ 10 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #39 Charlie Lindgren (2-0-0-0)  1.00GAA  .971%SP  1SO

2. #35 Al Montoya (2-1-0-0)  3.77GAA  .863%SP

Lines:

Montreal Canadiens

Pacioretty~Danault~Shaw

Galchenyuk~Drouin~Lehkonen

Byron~Plekanec~Gallagher

De La Rose~McCarron~To. Mitchell

Mete~Weber

Alzner~Petry

Jo. Benn~Morrow

Lindgren

Montoya

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Staal~Stewart

Niederreiter~Koivu~Gralund

Winnik~Eriksson Ek~Ennis

Foligno~Cullen~Kunin

Suter~Spurgeon

Brodin~Dumba

Quincey~Olofsson

Dubnyk

Svedberg

 

I feel a lot like the Minnesota Wild lately. Where you work hard but at the end of the day, you feel like you have nothing to show for it. In fact most of the week, I’ve felt like I have been continually behind the 8-ball. Working in tech support, I’ve had some tech issues of my own that I’ve had to deal with while assisting my customers with their own issues. It’s hard to focus when your tools have decided to make your life a bit complicated. Sometimes I think my work computer has been possessed by the spirits of either H.A.L from 2001: A Space Odyssey or W.O.P.R. from War Games. And while I joke about this, I try not to let technology’s inherent quirks to get to me too much, because I feel like if I do, it pretty much lets the technology take over my life. When people ask me “why did my phone/tablet/computer do this?” I will sometime let them know, there’s no answer. I don’t want them to focus on why it happened. I want them to focus on moving forward. It also provides me with the opportunity to educate them. When the crazy things happen, it’s usually to the people who don’t regularly back up their phones and computers. And just like I think either H.A.L. or W.O.P.R. live inside my work computer, I refuse to let them control my life. But in today’s world, our technology tends to control us, and that is the lesson to learn here.

According to Wild head coach, Bruce Boudreau, he was pleased by the effort by the Wild in Toronto last night. From what I can tell (since I haven’t seen a game since Saturday night), the effort between Monday night and last night was definitely a case of night and day. Sure, the Wild came out the loser in both games, but against the more gifted Toronto team, they looked more focused on the game on hand. And when you consider that two of the Maple Leafs’ goals were flukes that bounced off Wild players (Gustav Olofsson and Devan Dubnyk) it’s hard to be overly upset. And add to the fact that Toronto also scored an empty net goal, it was really a much closer game than the 4-2 final score implied. When two goals alone are scored off of lucky/unlucky bounces, it’s hard to be too angry. However, the Wild need to figure out scoring again. When your only two goals come from the same person (Jason Zucker) and both goals are set up by the same person (Eric Staal), it does beg the question where the rest of the team is. And here’s the other matter, fluky goals happen. It’s a fact of life when it comes to hockey. Teams need to figure out how to overcome them.

Part of me wonders what would have happened had Alex Stalock not had to fly home due to his wife going into labor ahead of schedule. The team probably had in their mind, okay here’s how we have to play with Stalock. Suddenly, they’re having to shift their thoughts. Plus, Dubnyk thought he was getting the night off. Imagine waking up from your nap and getting the news “oh hey, you’re playing.” But then again, these are professional players. At any time, decisions are made by coaching staff at the last minute and the “real world” effects professional athletes as well. They get sick. They have families and things can and do happen. So because of Stalock heading back to Minnesota, Dubnyk will again be back in net tonight in Montreal.

Montreal is having some goaltending woes of their own. They have relied on Carey Price for many seasons now. Yet he fell down 6-3 in Saint Paul on November 2nd. But while Price has not had the greatest of seasons, he’s also out of action now because of an injury. Now the Canadiens have had to hand over the crease to Lakeville, MN-native Charlie Lindgren. In all of his five starts of the Canadiens, he is 5-0-0. So there are two things working in Lindgren’s favor. First of all (and I’m going to channel everyone’s “favorite” NBC broadcaster, Pierre McGuire) is his chance to come out well against his hometown team. Now I’m sure had he gotten his start against Minnesota in Saint Paul it would have been more interesting, especially since he would have had a lot of family and friend in attendance. The other thing working in Lindgren’s favor is that he could possibly tie a record by Canadiens royalty Ken Dryden. In Dryden’s first six game with the Canadiens, he posted a 6-0-0 record. While I’d rather Lindgren not join Dryden with that bit of history, I can’t say I wouldn’t be shocked if he managed it. Let’s face it, the Wild’s history against back up goaltenders isn’t exactly stellar. But then Dryden also has the stat that he gave up a penalty shot to former Minnesota North Stars defenseman and current Minnesota Wild radio color analyst Tom Reid.

I’m saying it again. It would be nice if the Wild could finally get ahead of the 8-ball. But every time they get a win, and you hope that this is the moment that they turn their season around. But it hasn’t happened yet. Again, lots of hard work (for the most part) but nothing to show for it.