Minnesota Wild (5-9-1) 11pts 7th in the Central
2.47 Goals For Per Game (27th in the NHL)
3.40 Goals Against Per Game (24th in the NHL)
18.4% Power Play (18th in the NHL)
83% Penalty Kill (14th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 5G 6A = 11pts
2. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 4G 5A = 9pts
3. #77 Brad Hunt ~ 4G 4A = 8pts
4. #46 Jared Spurgeon ~ 2G 6A = 8pts
5. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 2G 5A = 7pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #19 Luke Kunin ~ 19 PIM’s
2. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 10 PIM’s
3. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 10 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (2-6-1) 3.68GAA .883%SP
2. #32 Alex Stalock (3-3-0) 2.42GAA .917%SP 1SO
San Jose Sharks (5-10-1) 11pts 7th in the Pacific
2.50 Goals For Per Game (26th in the NHL)
3.63 Goals Against Per Game (28th in the NHL)
20.8% Power Play (14th in the NHL)
90.2% Penalty Kill (1st in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #48 Tomas Hertl ~ 5G 9A = 14pts
2. #88 Brent Burns ~ 3G 11A = 14pts
3. #9 Evander Kane ~ 9G 4A = 13pts
4. #65 Erik Karlsson ~ 1G 9A = 10pts
5. #39 Logan Couture ~ 1G 9A = 10pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #23 Barclay Goodrow ~ 35 PIM’s
2. #4 Brendan Dillon ~ 19 PIM’s
3. #19 Joe Thornton ~ 18 PIM’s
1. #30 Aaron Dell (2-3-0) 3.83GAA .878%SP
2. #31 Martin Jones (3-7-1) 3.38GAA .889%SP
San Jose Sharks
This road trip has come at a bad time for me. Not only because this is a West Coast road trip which makes for very late nights, but when you combine the late nights with the fact that I’ve been sick, it definitely makes for lack of interest in the games. Tuesday night, I could scarcely even pay attention to the game. All I wanted to do was to go to sleep because of how cruddy I was feeling. However, it didn’t feel right to abandon Derek just as the game was starting, so suffer I did. I didn’t think that Minnesota would come out with the win. I think if the Wild or their opponents on this road trip were better, it would have made for more interest. That wasn’t the case though, so we all are just a bit indifferent to everything right now.
One thing that is different these days, is that we’re seeing a bit of a hot streak. Now mind you, it’s not the entire team having a hot streak, but at least we’re getting it from some players that definitely needed to turn things around. First in this category is Eric Staal. For so long, he’s been dogged for his lack of production. Yet in recent games, he seems like a new and somewhat improved Staal. We definitely need that, but it would be nice to see if his recent success can inspire more of his teammates. Trust me, everyone could use a bit of an offensive boost. The other player having a bit of a renaissance, would be Mats Zucarello. Since coming to Minnesota, he had yet to prove the contract he signed. The last thing you want to see is a relatively expensive contract to an older player and not get much of a return on the investment. Yes, he had a bit of an injury earlier in the season and missed a few games, but what we had seen wasn’t much to write home about. But lately, he’s been able to move the puck, get the puck to the right person on the ice, or actually capitalize himself. Again, these are the things we need to see, especially from veteran players.
Tonight is another one of those matchups where I don’t even think the fans on either side really care. Both Minnesota and San Jose have 11 points, which when compared to the rest of the league, that’s a sad number of points. Neither team is really accomplishing much this season, and the five wins for each team is proof of that. But here’s the difference, the Sharks are more successful in two key areas. While their overall goals against per game is horrible, their penalty kill is the best in the league. It’s things like that, which simply make you scratch your head in disbelief. Even crazier is that their power play is in the top half of the league yet their overall goals per game is almost at the bottom of the league. Usually when teams are bad, they’re bad overall. Derek’s term from this is “terrigood”, a combination of terrible and good. Overall, the Sharks are a terrible team but have areas that they’re good in.
One of the reasons for their “terrigood” status comes from the men between the pipes. Neither Aaron Dell or Martin Jones are doing much for their team. Although you can also turn that around on the skaters as well. Just like the Wild’s skaters, San Jose’s aren’t doing much better. They’re not doing much in the world of offense. When your skaters can put on a scoring clinic, it gives your goaltenders a little bit of breathing room. Yet at the same time, if you’re putting on a scoring clinic, you also give your fellow skaters some room as well. When you’re unable to prevent your opponents from scoring and your goaltenders are suffering, it’s hard to put anything together or even attempt to turn things around.
I think the hardest thing about tonight’s game, is that it’s going to feel like we’re playing ourselves. Everything that’s wrong with the Wild is also wrong with San Jose. It’s going to feel like looking in the proverbial mirror. Hopefully it’s Minnesota that takes the self-reflection seriously and does something about it.