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The Sports Daily > State of Hockey News
Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks 11/29/16 @ 9:00PM CST at Rogers Arena

Minnesota Wild (11-7-3)  25pts  3rd in the Central

2.76 Goals For Per Game (11th in the NHL)

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

19% Power Play (13th in the NHL)

85.2% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 5G 11A = 16pts

2. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 8G 7A = 15pts

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

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

5. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 7G 6A = 13pts

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 (9-6-2)  1.66GAA  .946%SP  4SO

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

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Vancouver Canucks (9-11-2)  20pts  6th in the Pacific

2.14 Goals For Per Game (29th in the NHL)

2.95 Goals Against Per Game (25th in the NHL)

12.5% Power Play (26th in the NHL)

85.2 % Penalty Kill (6th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #53 Bo Horvat ~ 7G 8A = 15pts

2. #22 Daniel Sedin ~ 6G 7A = 13pts

3. #33 Henrik Sedin ~ 5G 7A = 12pts

4. #20 Brandon Sutter ~ 5G 6A = 11pts

5. #60 Markus Granlund ~ 5G 4A = 9pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #15 Derek Dorsett ~ 33 PIM’s

2. #14 Alexandre Burrows ~ 25 PIM’s

3. #36 Jannik Hansen ~ 21 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #30 Ryan Miller (3-8-0)  2.67GAA  .910%SP

2. #25 Jacob Markstrom (6-3-2)  2.73GAA  .902%SP

 

Well here we go. Off to the West Coast and a matchup with the Vancouver Canucks. There’s a part of me that feels like this is the start of the regular season. For the majority of the Wild’s history, this would have been a divisional game. It would be a game that many Wild fans (and Canucks fans, if they were adult enough to admit it) would mark on their calendar. This is about the time of the year, when the schedule turns more toward divisional and conference play. The first month and a half of the season seems to be more games against the opposing conference with a smattering of games from within the conference. Heck at this point, it does seem a bit odd that Minnesota has already played half of its games against Winnipeg. And it’s even stranger that all three of those games have been played in Saint Paul. But yes, let’s get back to Vancouver. Now that we’re seeing the first of the games against the Canucks, we’re going to see a lot more of these late games. Yes my friends, we’re getting deep into the season now.

However, instead of facing an opponent in the Vancouver Canucks that was leading the division, they have not faired well since re-allignment. In the new version of the Pacific Division, they have frequently found themselves at the bottom of the standings. Knowing some Canucks fans over the years, I’m not sure they’re dealing well with this reversal of fortune. It has to hurt that all three California teams and both Alberta teams are ahead of them in the standings. I’ll venture that the one that hurts the most is the fact that Edmonton of all teams is leading them all. The Oilers have been the Western Conference version of the Maple Leafs. So instead of leading, the Canucks are bringing up the rear. And it’s hard to say if things will get better for Vancouver next season with the advent of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Compared to other expansion teams, Las Vegas is being handed a golden ticket with a beyond preferential expansion draft. Instead of getting older or fringe players like Ian Hebers and Jeff Nielsen they’re being gifted with the NHL’s young and upcoming talent. Most Wild fans at this point have pretty much accepted the fact that they’re going to lose Las Vegas-native Jason Zucker. With that in mind, struggling teams like Arizona and Vancouver will most likely continue to struggle while their new divisional opponent will excel through no merit of their own. Supposedly a $500-million expansion fee can buy you whatever you want. My hope is Las Vegas fails miserably, much like the New York Rangers did in the days before the salary cap.

What I really want (and need) to see is how the Wild respond after Sunday’s loss in St. Louis. It doesn’t help that the Wild are having to face a #6 Canucks. I’m still not entirely confident in how this team performs when playing a lesser opponent. While many things have improved under Bruce Boudreau we still see those mental slips, and they’re beyond annoying. They’re the kind of mental slips that simply shouldn’t happen as often as they do. They’re usually of the “let the foot off the gas when you’re leading” type of stuff. Plus, it will be good to see how they operate with the very late night start. If it’s hard for us as fans to stay up late to watch the games, it has to be that much harder to be the professional athlete whose internal clock is set to one time and playing on another. This game will be starting as many games when played in the Central Time Zone would be close to wrapping up. Plus, Minnesota again has some roster issues to contend with. Considering the lack of salary cap space, there’s little the Wild can do to bring in any players. The injury to defenseman Christian Folin is the newest in a line absences to the roster. With that injury, and one that has him out 3-4 weeks, the team had to look to create some depth instead of relying purely on Nate Prosser. Yesterday, the Wild called up Gustav Olofsson from the Iowa Wild. He scored a goal of his own on Sunday, to take his season totals to 3 goals and 9 assists. While it’s hard to transfer those numbers to the National Hockey League, if he can find any amount of success with Minnesota, it would be welcomed. Perhaps this is his moment to make a name for himself and carve out a coveted spot on the roster as Tyler Graovac has seemed to do. Like I said, I’ll take any points we can get from those that come up from Iowa combined with those on the current roster.

So here’s to the start of when things really get serious. How things go from here on out will ultimately determine the future of this team.