Minnesota Wild (23-21-3) 49pts 5th in the Central
2.77 Goals For Per Game (26th in the NHL)
2.89 Goals Against Per Game (11th in the NHL)
21.3% Power Play (11th in the NHL)
85.1% Penalty Kill (2nd in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 19G 22A = 41pts
2. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 12G 27A = 39pts
3. #12 Eric Staal ~ 14G 16A = 30pts
4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 5G 25A = 30pts
5. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 7G 20A = 27pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #36 Nick Seeler ~ 41 PIM’s
2. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 31 PIM’s
3. #29 Greg Pateryn ~ 29 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (17-16-3) 2.64GAA .912%SP 1SO
2. #32 Alex Stalock (6-5-0) 2.92GAA .894%SP
Columbus Blue Jackets (28-16-3) 59pts 2nd in the Metropolitan
3.26 Goals For Per Game (9th in the NHL)
3.04 Goals Against Per Game (20th in the NHL)
14.3% Power Play (27th in the NHL)
82.4% Penalty Kill (8th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #9 Artemi Panarin ~ 18G 34A = 52pts
2. #13 Cam Atkinson ~ 27G 21A = 48pts
3. #18 Pierre-Luc Dubois ~ 17G 25A = 42pts
4. #3 Seth Jones ~ 7G 21A = 28pts
5. #8 Zach Werenski ~ 9G 18A = 27pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #77 Josh Anderson ~ 44 PIM’s
2. #18 Pierre-Luc Dubois ~ 40 PIM’s
3. #17 Brandon Dubinsky ~ 34 PIM’s
1. #72 Sergei Bobrovsky (19-13-1) 2.93GAA .903%SP 2SO
2. #70 Joonas Korpislalo (9-3-2) 2.95GAA .901%SP
Columbus Blue Jackets
Good morning all. Well as good as it can be. Theresa here, and it looks like I’m going to be sharing this morning’s “adventure” with you. But a little background first. Probably about the only time I’ve mentioned on our blog that I have a spinal cord disability was on my article about Josh Harding when and his having multiple schlerosis. I won’t go super deep into my disability, but all you need to know is that it causes weak muscles in my legs, and that combined with the arthritis in my ankle from when I broke it in 2005, I’m a recipe for disaster. And oh what a disaster this morning has been. Derek was outside clearing the snow that fell last night and I’m in the house. I was walking in the house and suddenly down I fell. When I fall, I have a very hard time getting up and today was no different. Since Derek is outside using the very noisy snow-blower, there was no chance he would hear his phone ringing. So there I was just lying on the ground waiting for him to come back inside to assist me. At least I was fortunate in that he was home and that I didn’t really hurt myself more than my pride. If he hadn’t been home, I did have my phone in my pocket and could have called him or emergency services. Thankfully between my phone and smart watch, I don’t have to rely on that classic infomercial product Life Alert (or Lifecall if you’re in Canada).
But watching the Wild on Thursday night, I feel like this is the team that desperately needs the hockey version of Life Alert. As the classic line from that commercial goes, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” feels like it really applies to the Minnesota Wild right now. With the players this team has, we should see better results. For whatever, when they fall down, they fall down in epic proportions. Sadly, I don’t think there’s a simple solution like a Life Alert call. This is a kind of team where the players you wish you could move, have the life insurance of hockey known as the no-trade/no-movement clause. Plus, I can’t imagine that most teams want to saddle themselves with ridiculous expensive and lengthy contracts. But instead, smaller pieces get moved so there’s not much you get in return. Earlier this week, we moved minor leaguer Justin Kloos and got Pontus Aberg in return from Anaheim. It’s probably too early to make a true assessment of the trade, but so far I can’t complain too much about Aberg’s game. Heck, he and Zach Parise were about the only good things in Thursday’s game. Of course some may point to the Nino Niederreiter trade as what dragged the team down on Thursday night, but like head coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game in regards to the trade, “we’re professionals.” Now we will see if these so-called professionals can figure out how to play a game that they’ve all played most of their lives with two new players.
So what needs to change? While the Minnesota Wild finally outpaced the Ducks in shots, it felt like the Wild just couldn’t be bothered early in the game to get shots on goal. But of course to do that, you have to maintain possession and not just throw the puck away. Looking at the final shots on goal from Thursday night, why is it that one player (Parise) had eleven shots just by himself while other players had just one or two (or even worse, none)? There needs to be a more concerted effort by all the skaters to make things happen. The other thing that needs to happen center around team defense and keeping their feet moving. When a team can score three goals on seven shots, it speaks more of your lack of play than the other team’s ability to dominate. Thursday was more about the Wild losing than the Ducks winning. And let’s face it, the Ducks had nothing to lose and everything to win, and the Wild let them do it. I didn’t hold out much hope for the Wild because I felt like it was going to be one of those games where they would fall flat on their faces and they did. Anaheim was on a 12-game losing streak. They were dressing a bunch of minor league players. All we needed for it to be even more embarrassing was a rookie backup goaltender.
I felt a bit bad for Aberg on Thursday night. In his interviews before and after the game, he definitely looked uncomfortable. He was probably wondering “how did I go from one losing team to another.” And now another player could very well be asking that. Tonight, making his Wild debut will be former Carolina Hurricane, Victor Rask. On paper, it looks like Carolina got the better end of the deal, but time will tell. Niederreiter has all of the skill and ability, but he needs to find a way to return to the ways of a guy drafted in the first round. The knock on Rask, is that he’s been dealing with injuries in his short career. Just what the Wild need is an injury-prone player (yes, that’s sarcasm). As of now, it sounds like Rask will be on the same line as Parise and Aberg. It will be interesting to see how that line works out, because I certainly had no complaints over how Aberg and Parise worked together.
It is entirely up to this team whether they can pick themselves up. Tonight, they have to face a team in the Columbus Blue Jackets who lost their first place position in the Metropolitan Division just last night. Plus, the games between these two teams have often been filled with friendly (and unfriendly) rivalry over the years. And of course, there have been some crazy officiating calls during the games between these two teams. With tonight’s game being on Hockey Day Minnesota, I can only imagine what kinds of craziness could happen. Last night Joonas Korpisalo got the start and loss against Montreal. With that in mind, this means that Minnesota will most likely be facing Sergei Bobrovsky. He’s had his own drama this season, but I doubt it will create any advantage for Minnesota. If the Wild fall down again tonight, there is no Life Alert button for them to push.