Minnesota Wild (21-18-3) 45pts 5th in the Central
2.83 Goals For Per Game (20th in the NHL)
2.79 Goals Against Per Game (7th in the NHL)
21.3% Power Play (13th in the NHL)
83.7% Penalty Kill (5th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 12G 27A = 39pts
2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 19G 19A = 38pts
3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4G 23A = 27pts
4. #12 Eric Staal ~ 13G 13A = 26pts
5. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 7G 17A = 24pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #36 Nick Seeler ~ 39 PIM’s
2. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 27 PIM’s
3. #29 Greg Pateryn ~ 25 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (16-14-3) 2.56GAA .915%SP 1SO
2. #32 Alex Stalock (5-4-0) 2.75GAA .898%SP
Winnipeg Jets (27-13-2) 56pts 2nd in the Central
3.45 Goals For Per Game (7th in the NHL)
2.83 Goals Against Per Game (12th in the NHL)
29.4% Power Play (2nd in the NHL)
80.6% Penalty Kill (13th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #26 Blake Wheeler ~ 7G 48A = 55pts
2. #55 Mark Scheifele ~ 23G 30A = 53pts
3. #29 Patrik Laine ~ 24G 8A = 32pts
4. #81 Kyle Connor ~ 15G 15A = 30pts
5. #44 Josh Morrissey ~ 5G 20A = 25pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #57 Tyler Myers ~ 41 PIM’s
2. #48 Brendan Lemieux ~ 36 PIM’s
3. #7 Ben Chiarot ~ 36 PIM’s
1. #37 Connor Hellebuyck (19-12-1) 2.86GAA .909%SP
2. #30 Laurent Brossoit (8-1-1) 2.11GAA .939%SP 1SO
Quite frequently here, we talk about music. Both songs and instrumental music have strong emotional ties for many of us. I know I’ve mentioned here before, that I have a rather eclectic taste in music, to which I attribute to my upbringing. That eclectic taste in music even carried over to my music studies in college, where I earned a Bachelor of Music degree. Music has a way of connecting us to a specific time or memory in our lives. It allows us to connect with fellow fans of a particular singer or group. It allows us to expand our music tastes by trying styles we’re not familiar with. It also allows us to set a mood or help create a memory. It’s not unusual when I think of a particular song during various parts of a hockey season. That is the case right now. While this was a very successful road trip for the Minnesota Wild, after Tuesday night’s game in Boston, the first song that came to mind was the Sloop John B as performed by the Beach Boys. Not because of the pirate theme, but for the recurring line in the lyrics: “I want to go home.” I’m sure this was a sentiment felt by many of the players as well.
I don’t think one Minnesota fan, player, or coach enjoyed Tuesday night. With the exception of the first couple of minutes of the first two periods, the team looked annoyingly flat. Sure, we had a few flashes of something that was masquerading as offense by Jordan Greenway and Charlie Coyle, but beyond that, there was nothing. It was the kind of game where I felt extremely bored by the action (or inaction) on the ice. The crazier part, is that I wasn’t particularly angry with the Wild. I know I should be, simply because the team didn’t show up and pretty much left Alex Stalock out to dry, but I guess the results of the previous three games made me feel like I could accept that shutout loss a little bit better. I think the other thing that made Tuesday night’s game a little more acceptable, was looking at the players on the Bruins’ roster, and the scoring numbers they have. I mean you can’t argue much when the top line (David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand) have 53 goals between the three of them. Then on top of that, two-thirds of that top line had a goal, the result shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. But here’s the thing. If the Wild want to hold on to any hope for a playoff bid at the end of the season, there can be no more games where the team is a no-show. And truthfully, for a so-called professional organization, it’s unacceptable. I guess if I want to be angry about anything regarding that game, it was the no-show.
I highly expect to see a very motivated Winnipeg team tonight. At the time I’m writing this, they’re at the top of the Central Division standings. Now the Jets are one point ahead of Nashville with games in hand. On Wednesday night, the Predators are facing off against Chicago, another team looking to make a push in the standings. But here’s the thing, Winnipeg will not only be motivated to either stay on top or regain the top of the standings (depending on the result of the Nashville-Chicago game), but they definitely want a do-over of the last matchup with Minnesota. Remember how the Wild failed to show up in Boston? Well the last game between the Wild in Jets in Winnipeg, it was the Jets that failed to show up. They looked tired and disinterested and Minnesota took advantage of that. If the Wild let any amount of tiredness show, expect the Jets to jump on that and exploit it to its full capacity. And tiredness is very possible after a four-game road trip that had a back-to-back in it as well. While Minnesota was having a rough night in Boston, Winnipeg hosted the Colorado Avalanche, and put up seven goals. Just like the Bruins have skaters that can seemingly score at will, so do the Jets, and in particular Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine.
If the Wild want to turn things around, it needs to be a team effort. I can’t express enough how desperately this team needs to see Jason Zucker, Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, and Nino Niederreiter to figure out what the heck is wrong with them. I mean they were already slumping when Matt Dumba was injured, but it seems like their “absences” are even that more pronounced since Dumba went down. Of course, right before he got injured, he was one of the top scoring defensemen in the league, and in particular on the power play. You take away a scoring skater, especially when it’s a defenseman, it seems like your scoring woes become that much more pronounced. The five forwards named above, it was as if they were able to hide their scoring problems because we were all excited about a high scoring defenseman. And I can’t be the only one, but I have a bad feeling that Staal is playing hurt and just isn’t telling anyone. Because how else can you explain the slowness compared to last season.
Yes, I’m glad that the Wild are home. The road trip pretty much covered all forms of transportation with the exception of boats and horse drawn vehicles. With the way the Boston game went, it feels like it could have been the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Let’s just hope the game in Boston was a fluke, and the rest of the season doesn’t play out like the movie with Steve Martin and John Candy.