Game #75: Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings, Friday March 26, 2010 at 6:30pm (CDT), Joe Louis Arena [GAME PREVIEW]

Game #75: Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings, Friday March 26, 2010 at 6:30pm (CDT), Joe Louis Arena [GAME PREVIEW]

Wild

Game #75: Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings, Friday March 26, 2010 at 6:30pm (CDT), Joe Louis Arena [GAME PREVIEW]

By

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (36-32-6) 76 4th NW 2.69 (15) 2.86 (21) 19.0%(10) 82.5% (13)
Detroit Red Wings
(37-23-13) 87 3rd Cen 2.68 (16) 2.55 (9) 19.0% (9) 83.8% (10)

 

Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #9 Mikko Koivu 20 46 66
2. #15 Andrew Brunette 22 33 55
3. #14 Martin Havlat 17 34 51
4. #3 Marek Zidlicky 6 34 40
5. #20 Antti Miettinen 18 21 39
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #24 Derek Boogaard 95
2. #36 John Scott 69
3. #34 Shane Hnidy 66
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (25-20-6) 2.66 .903
2. #37 Josh Harding (9-11-0) 2.95 .906
Detroit Red Wings
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #40 Henrik Zetterberg 23 42 65
2. #13 Pavel Datsyuk 23 37 60
3. #5 Niklas Lidstrom 8 37 45
4. #44 Todd Bertuzzi 17 25 42
5. #28 Brian Rafalski 7 32 39
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #44 Todd Bertuzzi 72
2. #24 Brad May 66
3. #96 Tomas Holmstrom 50
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #35 Jimmy Howard (30-15-9) 2.29 .924
2.  #30 Chris Osgood (7-8-4) 2.97 .890

 

So I know I was overly pessimistic about last night’s game, but can you seriously blame me?  In fact I had to force myself to finish watching the game after the Wild found themselves down 2-0.  Reading John Wood’s book about bringing literacy to Nepal certainly held more promise than the rest of the Wild’s attempt at hockey.  Perhaps my reading a story about the resiliency of the human spirit was somehow passed onto the Wild bench on a psychic level.  The only word that fully explains what happened last night is resilient.

Last night, the deck was truly stacked against Minnesota.  First off, the Wild were without their leading scorer and captain, Mikko Koivu. While there have been times recently where he doesn’t appear to be fully “there” in a game, you never want to be without your captain.  Nor on a team not known for scoring, do you want to be without your top man.  Unfortunately, that will be the case again tonight.  The other major obstacle for Minnesota was that of Philadelphia’s goaltending.  As I mentioned, the Wild have a habit of making a team’s back-up goaltender or the guy making his NHL debut between the pipes look like a demi-god.  The way things started out with a lack of Minnesota shots, there was a possibility that Brian Boucher was going to come out smelling like a hockey-scented rose.  There was also a good chance that the Wild were going to end their penalty kill streak as well, especially since the Flyers hadn’t scored a power play goal in four games.  Somehow, a banged up and sometimes clueless Minnesota team managed to keep both of those streaks alive.

The proverbial deck is once again stacked against Minnesota.  Of course like last night, the location of tonight’s game doesn’t help matters.  The Joe Louis Arena is one of those venues that simply isn’t kind to the Wild.  A lifetime record of 4-12-1 at the Joe doesn’t bode well.  It also doesn’t help matters that Detroit has been on a bit of a winning streak recently.  Of course the Red Wings desperately needed those wins, otherwise they were facing missing the playoffs for the first time in about twenty years.  Although one could easily argue that if you’re not a Red Wings fan, you would smile with glee if they fail to miss the post-season.  With the way that Detroit has been playing as of late, it would take a complete and utter meltdown by them and a surge from a team like Calgary, St. Louis, or Minnesota (highly unlikely in our case) to keep Detroit on the outside looking in.

I’ve said it many times, I honestly don’t see the Wild squeaking in.  Nor do I want them to.  They have played far too inconsistently to deserve a playoff spot.  I’d rather watch a team that is ready to make the post-season, meaning having the tools to get past the first round.  This was a year of learning and evaluating for all parties, fans included.

 

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