Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 10/4/18 @ 8:00PM CST at Pepsi Center

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 10/4/18 @ 8:00PM CST at Pepsi Center

NHL

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 10/4/18 @ 8:00PM CST at Pepsi Center

*Minnesota Wild (45-26-11)  101pts  3rd in the Central

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

2.79 Goals Against Per Game (11th in the NHL)

20.4% Power Play (17th in the NHL)

81.3% Penalty Kill (13th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 42G  34A = 76pts

2. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 21G  46A = 67pts

3. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 33G  31A = 64pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 6G 45A = 51pts

5. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 14G 36A = 50pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 72 PIM’s

2. #29 Greg Pateryn ~ 50 PIM’s

3. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 46 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (35-16-7)  2.52GAA  .918%SP 5SO

2. #32 Alex Stalock (10-10-4)  2.85GAA  .910%SP  1SO

 

 

Vs.

 

 

*Colorado Avalanche (43-30-9)  95pts  4th in the Central

3.11 Goals For Per Game (10th in the NHL)

2.88 Goals Against Per Game (14th in the NHL)

21.9% Power Play (8th in the NHL)

83.3% Penalty Kill (4th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 39G 58A = 97pts

2. #96 Mikko Rantanen ~ 29G 55A = 84pts

3. #92 Gabriel Landeskog ~ 25G 37A = 62pts

4. #4 Tyson Barrie ~ 14G 43A = 57pts

5. #13 Alexander Kerfoot ~ 19G 24A = 43pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #16 Nikita Zadorov ~ 103 PIM’s

2. #6 Erik Johnson ~ 58 PIM’s

3. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 55 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #1 Semyon Varlamov (24-16-6)  2.68GAA  .920%SP  2SO

2. #31  Philipp Grubauer (15-10-3)  3.10GAA  .923%SP  3SO

* – All stats are from the 2017-18 Season

Lines:

Colorado Avalanche

Landeskog~MacKinnon~Rantanen

Kerfoot~Jost~Andrighetto

Kamenev~Compher~Wilson

Nieto~Soderberg~Calvert

Girard~Johnson

Zadorov~Barrie

Barberio~Cole

Varlamov

Grubauer

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Staal~Granlund

Parise~Koivu~Niederreiter

Coyle~Greenway~Eriksson Ek

Foligno~Fehr~Read

Suter~Dumba

Brodin~Spurgeon

Seeler~Pateryn

Dubnyk

Stalock

 

Today feels like a strange confluence of events. First off, it’s my day off, so I feel like I should be thinking of relaxation as well as getting some projects around the house completed. Whether you’re in the workforce or in school, you often look forward to your respective weekends (regardless of the days they actually land on). You’ve been working hard through the week, and now you can finally step back and de-stress. I find you look forward to your weekend even more when there are things about your job or school that are making life not much fun. In my particular case, I’m not really enjoying my schedule, so it makes work feel like a bit of a chore. However, I do have something to look forward to, as my schedule will take a favorable turn later this month. I just have to make it to that point. However, there’s another side to the piece of the puzzle as I alluded to just a few moments ago. My personal vacation with the Minnesota Wild is now over. By the time the Wild’s season is over (whether it ends in the regular season or the playoffs), I’m beyond ready to have a break from them. I love them, but at the same time it’s quite easy to hate them as well. There are so many things about this team that frustrate me. The power play, the power struggles, and certain personalities on the team can easily drive the most even-keeled person to insanity.

Let’s start with tonight’s opponent. I can’t say I’m thrilled to start the regular season against the Colorado Avalanche. Last season, the Wild put up an abysmal showing against Colorado with a 1-3 record. The closest game, was the Wild’s lone victory in a 3-2 shootout win on November 24th. After that game, it was a downward spiral, or to use a bit of a pun, an avalanche of hurt. The subsequent losses were brutal: 2-7 (January 6), 1-7 (March 2), and 1-5 (March 13). Those are embarrassing results. For a team that went to the playoffs, we should have known with those kinds of results against a team in our division, that it was going to be a relatively short and sweet playoff appearance. And it was. Let’s face it, Colorado was also a 1st round exit team as well, but their playoff showing was slightly longer than the Wild’s. I can’t say we have learned much about Minnesota during the pre-season. I do worry though that it’s an indication that we’re in for a long regular season. In those seven pre-season games, the Wild were 2-5. There were two games against Colorado, one a lopsided 7-0 Minnesota win and the a 4-3 overtime loss.

I’m sure there are some people who will read this and tell me that I’m absolutely crazy or that I’m not a “real fan” but I need to say this. Sure, we have a new General Manager in Paul Fenton, but in things he’s said and what we’ve seen on the ice during pre-season, I’m not sure much when it comes to the environment and personality of this team, that really anything as changed. I have a bad, bad feeling that we’re going to continue to see Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, and Mikko Koivu making decisions that are not for the benefit of the team. Between Fenton and Wild owner Craig Leipold I think there’s way too much loyalty and leeway given to Suter, and that’s sadly not going to change. And when Suter is given that kind of leeway, he brings his other big price tag lead weights with him. Heck, this team has been given multiple chances to cut ties (or at least not extend those ties) with Koivu, yet for some ridiculous reason, this team keeps offering him contracts or contract extensions. It is these kinds of behaviors that will prevent this team getting further than the first round.

I’m not entirely looking forward to tonight’s game. Yes, I’m glad hockey is back for the season, because I’m already sick and tired of football. Yet, this is a team of “lather, rinse, repeat.” We’re continually told “this is a great team” by the front office. Well, if this truly was a great team, we would be a dominant force in the league, but we’re not. Also, if this was a great team, we wouldn’t be satisfied with the previous results. It’s time for this team to truly put up or shut up. I don’t think that will be the case tonight or for much of the season. I wish it was, but I doubt it. And perhaps it is time for this team to miss the playoffs for a few seasons in order for things to truly change.

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