Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. New York Rangers 3/16/19 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. New York Rangers 3/16/19 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Wild

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. New York Rangers 3/16/19 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

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Minnesota Wild (33-30-8)  74pts  5th in the Central

2.69 Goals For Per Game (25th in the NHL)

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

20.1% Power Play (13th in the NHL)

80.3% Penalty Kill (19th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 24G 31A = 55pts

2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 19G 28A = 47pts

3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 7G 37A = 44pts

4. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 12G 27A = 39pts

5. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 21G 17A = 38pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #36 Nick Seeler ~ 53 PIM’s

2. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 49 PIM’s

3. #29 Greg Pateryn ~ 37 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (27-24-6)  2.61GAA  .911%SP  2SO

2. #32 Alex Stalock (6-6-2)  3.05GAA  .895%SP

 

Vs.

 

New York Rangers (28-30-13)  69pts  7th in the Metropolitan

2.73 Goals For Per Game (23rd in the NHL)

3.27 Goals Against Per Game (25th in the NHL)

19.1% Power Play (17th in the NHL)

78.6% Penalty Kill (25th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #93 Mika Zibanejad ~ 27G 39A = 66pts

2. #20 Chris Kreider ~ 26G 23A = 49pts

3. #26 Jimmy Vesey ~ 16G 18A = 34pts

4. #89 Pavel Buchnevich ~ 16G 13A = 29pts

5. #90 Vladislav Namestnikov ~ 10G 17A = 27pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #42 Brendan Smith ~ 59 PIM’s

2. #77 Tony DeAngelo ~ 56 PIM’s

3. #20 Chris Kreider ~ 55 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #30 Henrik Lundqvist (18-18-10)  2.99GAA  .909%SP

2. #40 Aleksandar Georgiev (10-12-3)  3.10GAA  .905%SP 1SO

Lines:

New York Rangers

Namestnikov~Zibanejad~Chytil

Kreider~R. Strome~Fast

Lemieux~Howden~Buchnevich

Vesey~Andersson~Nieves

Ma.Staal~Pionk

Smith~Skjei

DeAngelo~Shattenkirk

Lundqvist

Georgiev

Minnesota Wild

Parise~Staal~Fiala

Zucker~Kunin~Donato

Greenway~Raks~Aberg

Foligno~Fehr~Brown

Suter~Spurgeon

Brodin~Hunt

Seeler~Pateryn

Dubnyk

Stalock

First off, a slight disclaimer. There will be no post-game this evening, as Derek and I will be at a charity trivia contest this evening.

Well it’s that time of the year. Cabin fever has officially hit everyone. With it being mid-March, and spring appears to finally be coming, many of us are itching to get outside. Mind you, many of us have spent a lot of time outside this winter. But that time outside has been spent performing the back-breaking chore of snow removal. I swear, last month was a never ending month of snow storms. But here we were, back on February 13th, the snow is completely packed up and around our poor mailbox. I know we got more snow after this picture was taken, which further buried said mailbox. It was a constant battle to clear the box to ensure that the United States Postal Service would actually deliver our mail.

Of course now that the temperatures are in (or near) the 50s, we get to worry about the spring malady known as flooding. My sump pump has been working up a storm, mind you I still have a ton of snow in our yard. Right now, we along with our neighbors have been out, trying to break up the ice so that the melt off can make it to the storm drains. It’s going to be a “joy” of a spring.

But spring fever has also appeared to hit the Minnesota Wild. For some absolutely unknown reason, the dreaded optional practices have returned. There was one of those optional practices before the Sharks game. One of my Terrible Trio, Pontus Aberg, showed up to that practice and upon learning it was an optional practice actually had the gall to ask if he had to skate. When told ‘no’ he left. If you’re a new member to any team, I don’t care if your name is Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, or Connor McDavid, you need to attend all practices including the optional ones to figure out your spot on the team and to work on finding a place within the team’s chemistry. And clearly, Aberg is not Crosby, Ovechkin, or McDavid. Aberg needs to be the first one on the ice and the last one off. But no, he chooses to not practice. And it’s not just the Terrible Trio making poor choices. Yesterday, after another poor showing by the Wild, Zach Parise decided to take a maintenance day and skip an option practice himself. Mind you, this is the same guy who had earlier complained that this team hadn’t been able to get much practice in. Sorry Zach, but you can’t have it both ways. When you’re still living in the delusional world that this team is a playoff team, you don’t get to skip practices unless the medical staff say so.

Based on past history, I’m not looking for a good showing by the Wild. This is a team who has a nasty habit of playing down to their opponent. The Rangers aren’t going to make the playoffs this season. Yet, this is going to be the opponent we make look like they’re the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers also got into their hotel at 3:30am this morning, so they’re the tired team. Yet, the Wild who slept in their own beds and haven’t traveled for a few days, are going to be the ones that come out and look exhausted. I’m at the point where this team needs to be pulled out of the comfort of their cushy homes in Woodbury. If this team had any common sense, they would put this team up in a hotel for all their home games. And no, don’t put them up at the Saint Paul Hotel. Put them in the slightly more modest Holiday Inn Express just kitty-corner from the Xcel Energy Center. Considering this team has played so poorly at home and better on the road, let’s treat them like they’re on the road by making them stay at a hotel. No home cooked meals. Let’s bus them out to some random restaurant. Make them walk to their practice facility. They need to feel a bit uncomfortable and perhaps play will improve.

But then this is a team who is so separated from reality. Don’t believe me? Here’s a gem from none other than Eric Staal:

“We’ve got to embrace the challenge and the task tonight.”

Um, there’s 11 games remaining in the season. And now is when you make such empty comments? You should have been talking this way, and more importantly doing something about it TWENTY games ago. But the thing is, we’ve gotten these empty comments and promises twenty games ago and they still did nothing. The only player who has truly been honest about this team, and whose actions have matched his words is Marcus Foligno. Why do we have to get the truth from a fourth liner? Why are his legs the only ones truly moving? Why is he the only guy who really seems to give a damn about this team? All I know, is I’d rather listen to Foligno and his truth telling and bluntly honest statements than hear anything from Parise and Staal. All I know, is that I’m glad that Mikko Koivu is on IR, because I shudder at the thought of the sad-sack statements he’d be making right now.

The New York Rangers are on their 2nd game of a back-to-back after having lost to Calgary last night.  The Rangers will probably start Henrik Lundqvist since they started Aleksandar Georgiev last night; and if the Wild are wise they should give Alex Stalock the nod this evening.  The Wild have the New York Islanders tomorrow, and I’d think you’d want your so-called ‘ace’ (Devan Dubnyk) against the ‘better’ New York club.

With spring fever upon all of us, perhaps adding to making the players stay in hotels, we should hand them shovels and have them go to residential neighborhoods and have them break up the snowbanks and ice chunks for the elderly in these neighborhoods. And no, this would not be optional Aberg. Things need to feel very uncomfortable for this team. They’ve been way too comfortable for too long, and it’s getting old.

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