Minnesota Wild (5-2-2) 12pts 5th in the Central
2.89 Goals For Per Game (21st in the NHL)
2.67 Goals Against Per Game (10th in the NHL)
11.5% Power Play (26th in the NHL)
84.2% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 3G 8A = 11pts
2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 7A = 9pts
3. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 4G 3A = 7pts
4. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 4G 3A = 7pts
5. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 2G 4A = 6pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #36 Nick Seeler ~ 9 PIM’s
2. #23 J.T. Brown ~ 8 PIM’s
3. #21 Eric Fehr ~ 8 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (4-1-2) 1.95GAA .946%SP
2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-1-0) 3.44GAA .879%SP
Colorado Avalanche (6-2-2) 14pts 2nd in the Central
3.55 Goals For Per Game (7th in the NHL)
2.09 Goals Against Per Game (1st in the NHL)
27.5% Power Play (10th in the NHL)
89.4% Penalty Kill (3rd in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #96 Mikko Rantanen ~ 5G 15A = 20pts
2. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 9G 9A = 18pts
3. #92 Gabriel Landeskog ~ 9G 6A = 15pts
4. #4 Tyson Barrie ~ 0G 8A = 8pts
5. #34 Carl Soderberg ~ 4G 3A = 7pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #16 Nikita Zadorov ~ 13 PIM’s
2. #11 Matt Calvert ~ 11 PIM’s
3. #13 Alex Kerfoot ~ 10 PIM’s
1. #1 Semyon Varlamov (4-1-2) 1.56GAA .953%SP
2. #31 Philipp Grubauer (3-1-0) 2.76GAA .916%SP
Enjoy the home cooking while it lasts folks.
For those of you who attended college or are in college currently, you know this statement all too well. Those times you get to go home and eat your favorite meals cooked (hopefully) with love by mom, grandma, or whoever the cook is in your family are things you cherish. With November just around the corner, many students are looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving. For those who can’t go home often go home with a friend. When I was in grad school in Connecticut, I couldn’t afford the ticket or the time to go home to Minnesota. Thankfully, we have some family friends who live west of Boston, so the drive up from Hartford was close. Getting the chance to get away from school and eat some home cooked food is much appreciated. But sadly those times at home always end and we have to get back on the road. So we always have to enjoy those times while they last.
So tonight marks the end of the Wild’s trip home. But perhaps this is what we really need. This is a team, who while they’ve been at home for a long time and have had multiple days off between games, have perpetually looked like a tired, worn out team. I don’t know how that’s even possible. The only thing I can think of, is that while they’re at home, their wives or girlfriends have put them to work. I’m sure there are some home improvement projects that need to be tackled while they’re home. I’m sure they’re also cramming in extra time with their kids. Now I’m not a parent myself, however when I’m around family members with young children, they wear me out with their activities and antics. For professional athletes, when you have the time to be home, you probably go overboard trying to fit in family time. So between home projects and spending time with the family, hockey still has to find a way to fit in the schedule. This is a Wild team that gets way too comfortable when they’re at home, and many times it shows. Yes, they’ve been winning. However, we could very well have lost all of those games at home.
Tonight is definitely going to be a challenge. This is not the Colorado Avalanche that has been a joke of team in recent years. Now let me clarify that last statement. They were definitely a thorn in the Wild’s side last season. For the rest of the league however, they’ve been an easier opponent. That is clearly not the case this season, at least so far. Let’s start with their team stats. They’re scoring goals, with an average of 3.55 goals per game. Crazy thing is, that’s not even in the top 5 in the league, as the Avalanche come in at 7th place in the league when it comes to goals per game. Compare that to Minnesota’s 2.89 goals per game, which comes in at 21st place. Colorado is offensively potent, and that alone will make thing difficult for Minnesota, but that’s not where the pain ends. Let’s now turn to goals against per game. The Avalanche currently have a goals against per game of 2.09, which is tops in the league. So they can score seemingly at will and give up just over two goals per game. That my friends is how you end up in second place in the Central Division. Sure, goals are ultimately what wins the game, but it’s hard to win if you can’t stop goals. So far the Avalanche have figured that out. I wonder what former Avalanche beat writer, Adrian Dater has to say about that. Hey Dater, the Avalanche are killing the game.
And when it comes to scoring, Colorado’s skaters are coming up big time. Let’s start with every Wild fan’s “favorite” Avalanche player, captain Gabriel Landeskog. Last week alone, he scored six goals. In one week, he scored more goals than any Wild player has for the entire season so far. With that kind of goal production in one week, you would think that Landeskog would be leading the Avalanche in scoring, but that is scarily not the case. He’s in third. Ahead of Landeskog is Mikko Rantanen with his five goals and fifteen assists and Nathan McKinnonwith his nine goals and nine assists. It’s embarrassing to even try to compare the Minnesota’s top scorers with Colorado’s. I don’t even know how to even try to contain this team. What’s even worse, is that it doesn’t really matter if they put Semyon Varlamov or Philipp Grubauer in goal, as the goaltending tandem has stats that many teams would kill for. I hate to say it, but it’s most likely going to be a very, very long night tonight.
While this is the last home game for a while for the players, it’s also that for the fans as well. The next game is Monday night in Vancouver, which of course comes with the dreaded 9:00pm Central Time start. I’m starting a new work schedule, so I need to train my mind into going to bed earlier. Thankfully the early part of this extended road schedule only has the two Pacific Division games to start it, but then it gets broken up by a random trip to Saint Louis only to go back to the West Coast. Time to stock up on coffee if you haven’t already. I just hope that tonight’s game isn’t a harbinger of bad tidings to come on this road trip.