Minnesota Wild (2-3-2) 6pts 7th in the Central
3.14 Goals For Per Game (13th in the NHL)
3.14 Goals Against Per Game (21st in the NHL)
27.3% Power Play (5th in the NHL)
76.7% Penalty Kill (26th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #10 Chris Stewart ~ 6G 2A = 8pts
2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 2G 4A = 6pts
3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 1G 5A = 6pts
4. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 3G 2A = 5pts
5. #12 Eric Staal ~ 3G 2A = 5pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 10 PIM’s
2. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 5 PIM’s
3. #26 Daniel Winnik ~ 4 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (1-3-0-1) 3.25GAA .899%SP
2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-0-0-1) 2.90GAA .924%SP
New York Islanders (5-3-1) 11pts 4th in the Metropolitan
3.11 Goals For Per Game (17th in the NHL)
2.89 Goals Against Per Game (14th in the NHL)
7.1% Power Play (31st in the NHL)
78.6% Penalty Kill (20th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #91 John Tavares ~ 6G 4A = 10pts
2. #27 Anders Lee ~ 5G 2A = 7pts
3. #12 Josh Bailey ~ 3G 4A = 7pts
4. #29 Brock Nelson ~ 5G 1A = 6pts
5. #7 Jordan Eberle ~ 0G 6A = 6pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #42 Scott Mayfield ~ 8 PIM’s
2. #50 Adam Pelech ~ 8 PIM’s
3. #55 Johnny Boychuk ~ 7 PIM’s
1. #41 Jaroslav Halak (3-2-0-0) 2.72GAA .913%SP
2. #1 Thomas Greiss (2-1-0-1) 3.05GAA .917%SP
New York Islanders
Getting away from home sometimes feels good. With my job, working 2nd shift, getting away from work is much needed. I also work from home, so my house and my office are one and the same. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to get out of town for the day. Now we spent a lot of time in the car, but just seeing different scenery was much needed. But when you get back home, you often have things that need to be done. It doesn’t matter how short or long your time away is, when you get home you find that there are projects needing to be done. Usually it’s things such as laundry, grocery shopping, and general cleaning before the work week starts again. I usually say that I need a vacation from my vacation. Yet while there’s lots to be done, it often feels really good to get back home. You don’t have to eat every meal out at a restaurant. You don’t have to live out of a suitcase. Plus, you finally get to sleep in your own bed again, and often that’s the best part of coming back home.
For the Minnesota Wild, they are currently on a 6-game home stand. Tonight marks game 2 of this extended stay in Saint Paul. This is nice for several reasons. First off, there’s no adjusting of time zones for Wild fans living in the Central Time Zone. For season ticket holders and fans in general with tickets, this is a nice stretch of games with no crazy winter driving conditions. Many, if they even bring a coat with them, will probably leave it in the car. And if you do need a coat, it might be nothing more than a zip-up fleece as opposed to the marshmallow-like down-filled parka that one needs when winter really sets in. The walk to your car is a decent one, as long as the rain holds off. Of course depending on where you’re coming from for the game, you may need to leave early from work. That of course may be an added benefit for some (who doesn’t appreciate an excuse to leave early?). It also can be an added headache for others, because you may need to arrange for coverage of the rest of your shift or take a vacation day/hours. For those of us watching from home, we can often get dinner made and consumed before the game. Heck, you may even get dinner cleaned up before puck drop.
For Wild players, they should be relishing this time at home. With the exception of the All-Star or Olympic breaks, you rarely get time where you’re just at home and can relax. Even during this current home-stand, they have a game pretty much every other day. Sure, we prefer how this team plays when they have no more than two days between games. Yet, considering all the injuries this team has dealt with early in the season, this many games crunched together may be a bit of a concern. Hopefully the ability to send everyone back to their own beds and own food after a game helps the team stay healthier, and gets players like Mikael Granlund back into playing shape. I’ll admit, I wasn’t overly impressed with how he looked Tuesday night against Vancouver. I feel that if we weren’t also missing Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, and Zach Parise we wouldn’t have seen Granlund as soon as we did. The other problem with Granlund’s play was that I felt he was trying to be too fancy. Come on kid, when you’re coming back from injury, keep things simple. And in fact, I would rather our players keep things on the simpler side. Just play basic hockey instead of looking for the highlight reel play or goal.
When you’re a team who has struggled out of the gate, it’s hard when you have to face a team that is not a good one for you. For whatever reason, the New York Islanders are a team that I’d rather not play. Sure the Wild are winning the overall series with the Islanders 12-10, but that’s not much to write home about. I also feel like when we play the Islanders at Xcel Energy Center, it can end up being an ugly game. And when you compare their top 5 scorers to the Wild’s top 5 scorers, I’m not holding out much hope. Think about it. Our best scorer is Chris Stewart. He’s been a great story, and I think all of us love to see the role players have a great season. The problem though is he is not the player we expect to score. And more importantly, he’s not paid to be the top scorer. Then look at the Islanders. Their top scorer is John Tavares. He’s a gifted player and he produces. And then when you through in Anders Less, Josh Bailey, and Brock Nelson they could be a powerful force in the Eastern Conference. Sure, they’re in 4th place in the Metropolitan Division, but hey, it’s the Metropolitan. Being in 4th place in that division is impressive.
I can’t say I’m looking forward to this game. But hey, I’ll be working, so if it’s a complete disaster I’ll be spared having to watch it. I’m tempted to turn off notifications so I’ll be kept in the dark.