The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues 11/26/2016 @ 7:00PM CST at Scottrade Center

Minnesota Wild (11-7-2)  24pts  3rd in the Central

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

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

19.7% Power Play (13th in the NHL)

86.4% Penalty Kill (5th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 5G 10A = 15pts

2. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 7G 7A = 14pts

3. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 5G 9A = 14pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 10A = 14pts

5. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 7G 5A = 12pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #7 Chris Stewart ~ 29 PIM’s

2. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 18 PIM’s

3. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 14 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (9-6-1)  1.58GAA  .948%SP  4SO

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






St. Louis Blues (11-7-3)  25pts  2nd in the Central

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

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

20.5% Power Play (10th in the NHL)

88.1% Penalty Kill (2nd in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #91 Vladimir Tarasenko ~ 9G 13A = 22pts

2. #22 Kevin Shattenkirk ~ 4G 10A = 14pts

3. #57 David Perron ~ 6G 7A = 13pts

4. #26 Paul Stastny ~ 5G 7A = 12pts

5. #17 Jaden Schwartz ~ 6G 5A = 11pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #20 Alex Steen ~ 27 PIM’s

2. #22 Kevin Shattenkirk ~ 21 PIM’s

3. #28 Kyle Brodziak ~ 21 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #34 Jake Allen (9-3-3)  2.33GAA  .914%SP  1SO

2. #30 Carter Hutton (2-4-0)  2.98GAA  .891%SP

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 13: Nail Yakupov #64 of the St. Louis Blues skates during warm ups prior to a game against the Minnesota Wild on October 13, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 13: Nail Yakupov #64 of the St. Louis Blues skates during warm ups prior to a game against the Minnesota Wild on October 13, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we are now entering the season of lines. Ridiculous lines if you ask me. If you’re like me, you do most of your shopping online. I simply don’t have the time or patience to deal with the insanity. Black Friday is usually the worst of the wait in lines kind of day. Not only is everyone out trying to nab the supposed great deals, but people get into down and out brawls. I’ve seen Black Friday brawls put a bench clearing brawl in hockey to shame. And for what? The season’s “it” toy or a crazy deal over a huge flatscreen television. I braved Black Friday once in my forty years, and once was one time too many. The crazy part is I didn’t even venture out that one time until about 10am, long after much of the insanity had passed. I have decided long ago to stick to online shopping or small local shops for my gift-giving needs. Trust me, it’s much better this way. You’re not getting pushed around. You’re not looking for a parking spot. You’re not waiting in line to check out. You’re not getting to the store and unable to find what you’re looking for.

While I hate standing in line, here’s one line I don’t mind getting in. The line I’m talking about is the “I’m (pleasantly) surprised by yesterday’s outcome.” It certainly wasn’t one I was expecting. Sure, we beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh earlier this month, but I didn’t think it would happen twice in the season. It’s not every day you manage to sweep the 2-game series with the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. Not only was it a sweep, but it was a sweep by a decided margin. Sure, a tw0-goal game isn’t as big, but yesterday’s game was impressive. Everything just seemed to go right for once. Let’s face it, the Minnesota Wild aren’t exactly known for their stellar power play. Most nights it’s a miracle that they score one goal with the man advantage. But yesterday, they managed to tally three power play goals. In fact, looking at the team stats, this is the best that the Wild’s power play has looked in a long time. If that wasn’t surprising enough, the Wild had two players with two-goal games. Both Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter were looking for the hattrick at the end of the game. Not only did they find their scoring touch, they were two players (especially Niederreiter) who needed to find offense.

If Minnesota can continue what they started yesterday afternoon, they stand a very good chance of coming out on the right side in this game. However, it’s not going to be easy. St. Louis isn’t exactly the opponent you want to be facing just when things seem to be going right. Yet at the same time, it’s the kind of test a team needs to know if they’re really heading in the right direction. Teams need to test themselves, otherwise they start to get too comfortable. And as Wild fans, we all know too well what happens when this team gets too comfortable. The best teams simply don’t rest on their laurels. They show us time and time again why they’re at the top of the standings. And speaking of standings, should the Wild manage to come out on top tonight, there would be a significant change in the Central Division standings. Okay, well at least significant for Wild and Blues fans. Sure a win by either team won’t have them overtaking the Chicago Blackhawks are at the top of the division. However a win by Minnesota, especially in regulation, will have the Wild in the number two spot. And if the Wild can get back into that spot and find a way to maintain it for once, it would make for a happy fanbase for once. Many Wild fans, myself included, are sick and tired of Minnesota finding a way of backing into the playoffs. Heck, at this point, I would be happy if the Wild would find a way to stay in third place in the division. However, there’s a long way to go yet until the standings really matter. And it doesn’t help matters when you’re down a defensman for the next 2-3 weeks with a sprained left MCL injury to Christian Folin. At least this season, when it appears that Ryan Suter’s minutes will have to go up due to injuries to someone else, he’s been better managed and better utilized.

So get in line folks. We have a long way to ho. Hopefully this line won’t be as painful as the line at your nearby big box store.