Minnesota Wild (42-22-6) 92pts 2nd in the Central
3.23 Goals For Per Game (2nd in the NHL)
2.48 Goals Against Per Game (8th in the NHL)
21.1% Power Play (9th in the NHL)
83.8% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 25G 41A = 66pts
2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 24G 30A = 54pts
3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 18G 35A = 53pts
4. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 20G 28A = 48pts
5. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 16G 32A = 48pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #7 Chris Stewart ~ 84 PIM’s
2. #21 Ryan White ~ 77 PIM’s
3. #24 Mathew Dumba ~ 57 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (36-18-3) 2.18GAA .927%SP 5SO
2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (7-4-3) 3.21GAA .904%SP
San Jose Sharks (42-23-7) 91pts 1st in the Pacific
2.69 Goals For Per Game (17th in the NHL)
2.29 Goals Against Per Game (2nd in the NHL)
16.7% Power Play (24th in the NHL)
82% Penalty Kill (11th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #88 Brent Burns ~ 27G 43A = 70pts
2. #8 Joe Pavelski ~ 28G 35A = 63pts
3. #39 Logan Couture ~ 25G 27A = 52pts
4. #19 Joe Thornton ~ 6G 42A = 48pts
5. #12 Patrick Marleau ~ 23G 18A = 41pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #38 Michael Haley ~ 90 PIM’s
2. #4 Brendan Dillon ~ 56 PIM’s
3. #19 Joe Thornton ~ 47 PIM’s
1. #31 Martin Jones (32-18-6) 2.24GAA .916%SP 2SO
2. #30 Aaron Dell (10-5-1) 1.85GAA .936%SP 1SO
San Jose Sharks
I don’t know who decided to do this, but every generation has been given a name. You know, The Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, and more recently, Millennials. Yours truly, would land in the category of Gen X. We’re all in the neighborhood of forty years old. When you start to hit that age, you start to get a bit nostalgic about your younger years. I’ll admit, when I’m in the car when we’re not listening to NHL radio (thank you Sirius XM Radio), we’re listening to the Lithium channel. For those of you who have never listened to this channel, it’s 90s grunge and alternative music, otherwise known as the music of my high school and college years. One of the artists of those years would be Beck, not to be confused with guitarist Jeff Beck. Beck is an amazingly talented musician, much like Prince who not only writes his own music, but usually performs all of the music tracks and instruments on his albums. Remember when he got called out by Kanye West at one of the music awards show? I sometimes wonder if Kanye can even read music. Anyway, one of Beck’s best known songs is pretty appropriate right now when it comes to the Minnesota Wild.
The current five game losing streak is hard to swallow. Not only is it a bitter pill, but it gets even more painful when you look at the standings. Chicago is now seven points ahead of Minnesota and the Wild only have one game in hand. Unless Minnesota goes on a major winning streak and Chicago starts losing like Minnesota, that point deficit will be impossible to overcome. The Wild the past few seasons have had this level of failure earlier in the season and then have to try to claw their way back in. Normally though the clawing depended a lot on other teams failing even more than Minnesota. Thankfully, the Wild built themselves a bit of a cushion this season. They can also thank their lucky stars that the Western Conference and Central Divisions aren’t as strong as they have been in the past. If this was two or three years ago, and you went on a five game losing streak at this point in the season, you pretty much signed your pink slip. There are eleven games (including tonight) remaining in the regular season, and they need to start to turn things around tonight.
Sunday night is indicative of many of the Wild’s problems. They spotted Winnipeg four goals before they woke up. Being down two goals is bad enough, but four is unforgivable. Being down two goals is far more reasonable though. It’s much, much easier to come back from a two goal deficit. With how Minnesota has played as of late, coming back from being down four goals is almost impossible. However, they managed to get those four goals back. Yet, when Dustin Byfuglien tallied the Jets’ fourth goal for the night, I almost gave up writing that post-game report. Like I said that night, I wanted to go on strike. In fact, I felt like Bruce Boudreau did in his press conference when he stormed off after two questions. When Charlie Coyle scored the Wild’s first goal, it felt like a moral victory of sorts, yet it was still a case of too little, too late. And yet the Wild’s goals kept coming. I’m still shocked that they managed to score the four goals in order to tie the game. But I knew. I knew it wasn’t going to be enough. That even with tying the game, it wasn’t going to be enough to end the losing streak. I know that’s a bad attitude, but it ended up being the truth.
Tonight’s opponent is just one point behind the Wild in the standings. There was a time when Minnesota was ahead of the Western Conference by a decent amount. What a difference a month can make. In fact, there are two things that can possibly be tied to the Wild’s slump. The first one being the bye week. And it’s not just the Wild who have stumbled after their forced week off. Since this is something that the NHL Players’ Association demanded in compensation for the 3-on-3 format of the All-Star Game, I hope the union realizes that the forced time off is bad for pretty much every team in the league. It’s not really helping anyone, and in fact does more harm than good. If the teams could at least practice during that time, would help everyone involved. The other issue that many are questioning are the acquisition of Martin Hanzal and Ryan White and the trade deadline. On paper, it looked like a good move. However, they haven’t really found their niche on the team yet, Hanzal in particular. I found it pretty ridiculous that Hanzal was suddenly claiming he was homesick and missing his family back in the Czech Republic. Why would he claim homesickness now? Because if he was really homesick, wouldn’t that have also been an issue in Arizona? Sounds like an excuse for his less-than-stellar play.
Since I’m feeling a bit of a Gen X alternative music mood, I might as well continue this. Especially when there’s a lot of music to pick from when it comes to feeling down on your luck. I know for myself, I’m feeling a bit lost when it comes to this team.