Minnesota Wild (6-3-2) 14pts 5th in the Central
2.80 Goals For Per Game (22nd in the NHL)
2.80 Goals Against Per Game (8th in the NHL)
13.9% Power Play (27th in the NHL)
85.4% Penalty Kill (6th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 3G 8A = 11pts
2. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 5G 5A = 10pts
3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 3G 7A = 10pts
4. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 4G 5A = 9pts
5. #12 Eric Staal ~ 3G 4A = 7pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #21 Eric Fehr ~ 12 PIM’s
2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 10 PIM’s
3. #36 Nick Seeler ~ 9 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (5-2-2) 2.19GAA .937%SP
2. #32 Alex Stalock (1-1-0) 3.45GAA .879%SP
Edmonton Oilers (6-3-1) 13pts 2nd in the Pacific
2.90 Goals For Per Game (21st in the NHL)
3.00 Goals Against Per Game (18th in the NHL)
25% Power Play (11th in the NHL)
75.8% Penalty Kill (20th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #97 Connor McDavid ~ 9G 8A = 17pts
2. #93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ~ 3G 9A = 12pts
3. #29 Leon Draisaitl ~ 6G 5A = 11pts
4. #25 Darnell Nurse ~ 1G 4A = 5pts
5. #22 Tobias Reider ~ 0G 5A = 5pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #27 Milan Lucic ~ 16 PIM’s
2. #18 Ryan Strome ~ 8 PIM’s
3. #16 Jujhar Khaira ~ 7 PIM’s
1. #33 Cam Talbot (5-3-1) 2.67GAA .909%SP
2. #19 Mikko Koskinen (1-0-0) 3.05GAA .889%SP
Today, I’m thinking of a couple of cliched sayings. The first one being “not knowing whether you’re coming or going.” The other says pretty much the same thing, but in much more descriptive words, that being “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” They’re both things that are said when you’re so busy that you’re not sure some times what your name is, where you are, what day it is, or what you need to do. We’ve all had moments like that in our lives. They can be stressful, but often you find yourself too busy to even notice that you’re stressed out with everything happening around you. The time that tended to happen to me most in my life was in college, and always right around first semester finals. Between studying for exams, writing papers, and performing my work study jobs, it sometime felt like even sleeping was work. Like I said, I didn’t notice how worn out was, until I got home for Christmas break and seemed to always end up with a nasty head cold. This road trip for me is on top of a schedule change for me at work. Before this past Saturday, I worked noon to 9pm. My new schedule is now 7am-4pm. While I’m happier to be working days again, I’m not liking that this change is happening at the time of this West Coast road trip. Lucky me. Between being up late and getting up early, I kind of feel like I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.
The other thing that is completely throwing me off, are the Pacific Division standings. For some many years, we’ve become accustomed to the fact that the Edmonton Oilers are generally in the bottom of their division standings. But that’s not the case this season. To make things even stranger, they’re in second place just behind division leader San Jose by one point. Heck then entire division seems to be flipped. Arizona’s not in last place, that dubious honor belonging to Los Angeles, a team often in the playoff hunt. Heck, even Calgary is attempting to change their fortunes this season.
And to add to the differences, last season’s freshman phenom the Las Vegas Golden Knights are finding things a bit tougher this season. I think that the Pacific Division will certainly be an interesting division to watch this season, and considering the extensive look we’re going to get on this road trip, we certainly have an early front row seat on how things turn out.
If there’s one problem the Oilers have, it’s that they definitely lack secondary scoring. Sure, they have Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Leon Draisaitl, but beyond that, the cupboards are pretty bare. I would think just about every team in the league is well aware that if they can neutralize those three, they stand a good chance of winning. Yet, that is sometimes easier said than done. Especially when the three are split on two lines, with McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins are on a line together. Looking at their points, it’s not a shock to see that to coincide with McDavid’s eight goals that Nugent-Hopkins has nine assists. He’s definitely been setting up McDavid. And then to make things more potent, when it comes to Edmonton’s powerplay, Draisaitl is added to the other two along with Milan Lucic and Oscar Klefbom. It’s been a very successful top power play unit. Considering the number of points that line has, I would have thought Edmonton’s power play percentage would have been better than it was. Of course the 25.0% power play is the kind of stat you would want to see later in the season. Hopefully Minnesota’s effective penalty kill is enough to diffuse that 25.0% power play.
Yet with all the goals by the top three players, you would think the Oilers’ goals for per game would be better. Again, it gets back to the lack in secondary scoring. Then to add insult to injury, their defensive numbers whether full strength or on the penalty kill are not something to write home about. The other area that is ultimately going to hurt Edmonton is goaltending. The save percentage and goals against average stats by Cam Talbot are not what teams what and need from your starting goaltender. Then add Mikko Koskinen into the picture and it’s not the strongest tandem in the league. Sure in his one game played, Koskinen got the win, but you almost have to wonder if the team or the coaching staff trust him to play more. Regardless, it looks like both will give up goals, and they just have to hope that the top two lines or the top power play unit will score at least one more goal than they let up.
The Wild probably got little rest after a red-eye flight to Edmonton after their 5-2 loss in Vancouver last night. This is their 3rd back to back of this season, and now they’ll be asked to dig deep after a lackluster effort.
Well at least after tonight, we get a couple of days off to rest up. Heck, there’s even a home game starting a sensible 7pm start time. Enjoy it, because it will get rough again. You won’t know if you’re up late or getting up early. At least tonight, we won’t be up as late as last night.