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The Sports Daily > State of Hockey News
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Boston Bruins 11/17/2016 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (8-6-1)  17pts  4th in the Central

2.73 Goals For Per Game (12th in the NHL)

1.93 Goals Against Per Game (1st in the NHL)

13.6% Power Play (23rd in the NHL)

87.5% Penalty Kill (5th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 5G 8A = 13pts

2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 8A = 12pts

3. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 4G 6A = 10pts

4. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 4G 4A = 8pts

5. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 3G 5A = 8pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #7 Chris Stewart ~ 24 PIM’s

2. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 18 PIM’s

3. #5 Christian Folin ~ 10 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (6-5-1)  1.60GAA  .948%SP  3SO

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (2-1-0)  2.94GAA  .908%SP

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Boston Bruins (10-6-0)  20pts  4th in the Atlantic

2.50 Goals For Per Game (20th in the NHL)

2.38 Goals Against Per Game (9th in the NHL)

13.5% Power Play (24th in the NHL)

83.6% Penalty Kill (12th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #63 Brad Marchand ~ 5G 11A = 16pts

2. #88 David Pastrnak ~ 10G 4A = 14pts

3. #46 David Krecji ~ 2G 8A = 10pts

4. #51 Ryan Spooner ~ 3G 4A = 7pts

5. #42 David Backes ~ 3G 4A = 7pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #33 Zdeno Chara ~ 17 PIM’s

2. #63 Brad Marchand ~ 16 PIM’s

3. #25 Brandon Carlo ~ 15 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Tuukka Rask (10-1-0)  1.54GAA  .945%SP  3SO

2. #31 Zane McIntyre (2-0-2)  4.04GAA  .859%SP

 

Can I tell you something? It’s nothing super shocking, because I kind of hinted at it in Tuesday’s game preview. It’s this. I am not shocked one bit at the result of Tuesday’s game. I had a feeling that the Wild weren’t going to play to their full potential. We saw it against a #6 Philadelphia team and we saw it against a #6 Calgary team. I saw Thursday’s game against Calgary as a lackluster one. I didn’t see the same laser focus and consistency as we’ve seen in other games. Other fans disagreed with me, so I’m wondering how it was that we saw things differently. But hey, to each their own. I’m going to stick with my convictions, and say I did not see what I wanted. More importantly however, I didn’t see what the team needs to be successful. And if the Minnesota Wild want to get further than the first round of the playoffs, what we saw Thursday night isn’t going to do it.

There’s one thing I can point to. I know I’m going to catch some grief for this, but trust me, it made a difference. And it’s not the kind of difference this team can afford. Remember last season, the frustration we all felt because it felt like the inmates were running the asylum? I thought we had finally gotten to the point where we had a head coach in Bruce Boudreau who wasn’t going to let the players decide who plays when and where. I have been feeling this way, because just look at Ryan Suter. Sure, he’s still putting up far more minutes than I’m entirely comfortable with, but I feel that his minutes are better managed. He’s on the ice at the right times and his skill-set appears to be utilized far better than it was with Mike Yeo. Case in point, Suter wasn’t on the ice during the overtime victory in Ottawa. Back in the Yeo days, Suter would be the defenseman on the ice, slowing things down. Instead Boudreau went with the speedier and more offensively minded Matt Dumba. However, Boudreau isn’t completely off my trouble list. Why you ask? Look at Thursday. Can anyone please tell me why Zach Parise was playing prime minutes on the power play? His first game back from injury, and it feels like he could pretty much name his position and minutes, at least when it came to the power play. He didn’t get his complete say in position as he wasn’t automatically on the top line. I have a bad feeling that it coming though, even though the top line has been doing just fine without him.

I’m hoping tonight, that the Wild put forth a better effort. I can see it happening, and this is why. When the Wild play against an equal or better team, they generally play a better game. Tonight is a #4 team versus a #4 team. Both Minnesota and Boston should play for the win, in the hopes of moving up in their respective divisions. It is so important to rack up wins early in the season, when legs are fresher and players are healthier. As I’ve been battling a nasty cold of my own, and many players have school-aged kids, they’re all going to be encountering various viruses. Then combine that with all the time on the road, you get tired and worn down. When that happens, it’s so much easier for those bugs to catch you. I’m sure most teams have protocols in place to help battle illness, but flu season is here. We’re going to see more and more players out for illness. And once we’re past illness season, the injuries build up. So yes, grab the wins now while you can. However, don’t put players in positions when they’re not ready after coming back from injury or illness.