Game #58: Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks, Friday February 18, 2011 at 7:00pm CST, Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Game #58: Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks, Friday February 18, 2011 at 7:00pm CST, Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]


Game #58: Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks, Friday February 18, 2011 at 7:00pm CST, Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]


Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (30-22-5) 65 3rd NW 2.56 (25) 2.60 (11) 20.2% (7)

82.6% (12)

Anaheim Ducks
(32-22-4) 68 3rd Pacific 2.78 (14) 2.79 (17) 24.0% (3) 81.6% (16)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #24 Martin Havlat 16 32 48
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 14 34 48
3. #8 Brent Burns 14 20 34
4. #7 Matt Cullen 11 23 34
5. #15 Andrew Brunette 15 18 33
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #16 Brad Staubitz 101
2. #8 Brent Burns 72
3. #4 Clayton Stoner 49
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (18-13-3) 2.35 .925
2. #60 Jose Theodore (10-8-2) 2.70 .914
3. #35Anton Khudobin (2-1-0) 1.59 .942
Anaheim Ducks
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #10 Corey Perry 29 36 65
2. #8 Teemu Selanne 18 2136 54
3. #9 Bobby Ryan 28 19 47
4. #15 Ryan Getzlaf 14 31 45
5. #17 Lubomir Visnovsky 9 36 45
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #16 George Parros 127
2. #10 Corey Perry 86
3. #25 Andy Sutton 71
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #1 Jonas Hiller (26-16-3) 2.50 .925
2. #31 Curtis McElhinney (6-6-1) 3.15 .902

For the Minnesota Wild, the past couple of months have been a perpetual case of “one step forward, two steps back.”  Just as we as fans feel that things have finally turned the corner, something happens to bring us all back to reality.  While no one has started planning the Wild’s Stanley Cup parade, it would be nice to stay in the playoff picture longer for one night (or two hours, which was the case a couple of weeks ago).  Yet one has to remember, that the past couple of game have not been poorly played games.  Truth be told, they’ve played well.  The problem is that simply, they have faced stiff competition.  Looking at the remaining schedule, it will continue to be night after night (including six back to back games) of hard times for Minnesota.  Regardless of where the Wild end up at the end of regular season, the Western Conference playoff picture will not be set until the very last second of the very last regular season game.

Tonight, the Wild look to make up some ground, once again.  One concern I have, is the fact that they will be facing a backup goaltender tonight.  Due to feelings of dizziness, the Ducks will be without the services of Jonas Hiller.  In his stead will be Curtis McElhinney, who truth be told should be a difficult egg to crack.  His numbers certainly aren’t the worst in the league, and he is fortunate to have good players in front of him.  Fans also know, that players tend to step up their games when their usual starter isn’t in net.  Wild fans have seen this phenomenon for themselves when Anton Khudobin was called upon to do just what McElhinney will have to tonight. 

Slowly, but surely, Minnesota’s injured players are making their way back to the ice.  While still not ready to play tonight, defenseman Marek Zidlicky is getting closer and closer each day.  His ‘doubtful’ status for tonight’s game, while disappointing, is a step in the right direction.  Zidlicky was having a great season prior to his shoulder injury.  While young players like Clayton Stoner and Jared Spurgeon have played better than many expected, it will certainly be wonderful to have another veteran presence on the blueline.  On the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s website, there was an article about the player named, “IR Club.”  The founders are Josh Harding and James Sheppard each out with a surgically repaired knee.  Joining them in the club that none of them want to be in, are Zidlicky, Guillaume Latendresse and Marco Scandella.  The quintet is joined in their no-contact practices (and no butterfly goaltending practices for Harding) by head athletic trainer Don Fuller and conditioning coach Chris Pietrzak-Wegner.  While it’s frustrating to be without those players, it is reassuring to see that each day brings them closer to their return.

So here we stand.  It’s onward, and hopefully upward.

Copyright © 2011 – All Rights Reserved – Trademarks used herein are property of their respective owners.

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