Minnesota Wild (34-30-9) 77pts 5th in the Central
2.71 Goals For Per Game (24th in the NHL)
2.88 Goals Against Per Game (11th in the NHL)
20.6% Power Play (13th in the NHL)
80.2% Penalty Kill (19th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 25G 32A = 57pts
2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 20G 29A = 49pts
3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 7G 38A = 45pts
4. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 14G 27A = 41pts
5. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 21G 18A = 39pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #36 Nick Seeler ~ 53 PIM’s
2. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 51 PIM’s
3. #29 Greg Pateryn ~ 37 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (28-24-6) 2.60GAA .911%SP 2SO
2. #32 Alex Stalock (6-6-3) 3.05GAA .893%SP
Colorado Avalanche (31-29-12) 74pts 6th in the Central
3.17 Goals For Per Game (10th in the NHL)
3.08 Goals Against Per Game (19th in the NHL)
22.3% Power Play (8th in the NHL)
77.5% Penalty Kill (27th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 37G 54A = 91pts
2. #96 Mikko Rantanen ~ 31G 56A = 87pts
3. #4 Tyson Barrie ~ 9G 41A = 50pts
4. #34 Carl Soderberg ~ 21G 22A = 43pts
5. #13 Alexander Kerfoot ~ 11G 23A = 34pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #28 Ian Cole ~ 113 PIM’s
2. #16 Nikita Zadorov ~ 69 PIM’s
3. #96 Mikko Rantanen ~ 52 PIM’s
1. #1 Semyon Varlamov (19-18-9) 2.86GAA .910%SP 2SO
2. #31 Philipp Grubauer (12-9-3) 2.90GAA .904%SP 3SO
It’s amazing how our view of home changes throughout our lives. When we’re young, there’s almost nothing better than being at home. It’s where our families are. It’s where our toys are. When we’re teenagers, especially if you were of the rebellious nature, you can’t wait to leave home. You’re tired of your parents rules. Life will be great if you can get a place of your own. For those of you who lived in the dorm during your college years, you loved going home on break. Free food. Free laundry. Sleeping in a nicer bed than the one in your dorm room. When you’re done with school, you again want to get a place of your own. Some of us get an apartment. Some get married and buy your first house. As we get older, we really only go home for holidays and other such family events. However, for some people they never really get to leave home. It might be due to financial reasons. It might be because you need to take care of an ill or elderly parent. You wish you could leave but you can’t no matter how much you want to.
This season, this has been the case for Wild fans. This has been the season where this team plays better on the road than at home. That is almost unheard of. Most teams put on their best performances for their home fans. Most teams are energized by their home fans. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship. But here’s the thing about symbiosis, things need to be in balance for the relationship to prosper. Right now, the Minnesota Wild and its fans are not in a symbiotic relationship. The longer they seem to remain at home, it’s becoming more and more parasitic. The Wild seem to take more and more from the fans. It’s hard to watch them some nights. Now don’t get me wrong, there were moments on Sunday’s game where you thought “hmm, maybe they’ve figured things out.” There were those moments, when they decided to move their feet, that they were able to skate with the Islanders and make a game out of it. But then came overtime. The biggest parasite of them all, Ryan Suter, was on the ice. When will he and this team figure out that his slow ass is an absolute detriment to this team when 3-on-3 hockey is all about speed. Each time he’s on the ice for overtime or the power play, he takes a little bit more of the fans’ souls.
Sure, the Wild are three points ahead of the Avalanche, but you better believe that Colorado is well aware of that. Divisional games are key in the standings. Should Colorado win, then they’re only one point behind Minnesota. However, if the Wild can find a way to win a game at home, against a divisional rival, then they would find themselves with a 5-point lead. I know which I would prefer. Even if the Wild never take the last wild card spot back, I would prefer to be as far ahead of Colorado as possible. They’re one of those teams I love to hate, and anything that can “sock it to them” I’m all for. Sure, it would get them a better draft pick, but keeping the Avalanche out of the playoff picture is my idea of a good time.
However, to put forth that good time is going to take some effort. Let’s face it, Colorado has players that can score. No one would dare sneeze at Nathan MacKinnon’s 37 goals. Heck, I don’t know what we’d do this season if we had a player with that many goals. Of course if we did, we probably would have seen better performance at home and hope that those 37 goals would inspire his teammate to try for more goals themselves. But where the Avalanche can score they have issues preventing goals. Allowing 3.08 goals per game isn’t what you want to see if you dare to dream of a playoff spot. Unless Colorado can greatly improve that in these few remaining games and both Arizona and Minnesota completely tank, the Avalanche have little hope to sneak into the playoffs. And if there’s goals against per game wasn’t bad enough, their penalty kill is even worse. Of course the Wild’s penalty kill isn’t exactly what it used to be. In fact, I’m quite embarrassed by the Wild’s defensive stats this season, so I really shouldn’t be calling out an opponent’s abysmal team defense.
So while continue to enjoy the comforts of home, we need to see if they can get their heads out of their proverbial behinds and take a stand. If they can’t, like we’ve said before, it’s time to pack this season up and look to the next one. I’d rather they not drag things out. Either play like a playoff team or bow out now. And stop treading on the emotions of the fans.