Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Carolina Hurricanes 12/7/19 @ 6:00PM CST at PNC Arena

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Carolina Hurricanes 12/7/19 @ 6:00PM CST at PNC Arena

NHL

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Carolina Hurricanes 12/7/19 @ 6:00PM CST at PNC Arena

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Minnesota Wild (14-11-4)  32pts  5th in the Central

3.00 Goals For Per Game (15th in the NHL)

3.17 Goals Against Per Game (21st in the NHL)

20% Power Play (9th in the NHL)

80.2% Penalty Kill (18th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 11G 11A = 22pts

2. #12 Eric Staal ~ 8G 12A = 20pts

3. #11 Zach Parise ~ 12G 5A = 17pts

4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 3G 14A = 17pts

5. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 6G 10A = 16pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 37 PIM’s

2. #24 Matt Dumba ~ 25 PIM’s

3. #19 Luke Kunin ~ 21 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #32 Alex Stalock (8-3-2)  2.76GAA  .910%SP  1SO

2. #31 Kaapo Kahkonen (2-0-0)  2.00GAA  .950%SP

 

Vs.

 

Carolina Hurricanes (17-11-1)  35pts  5th in the Metropolitan

3.07 Goals For Per Game (12th in the NHL)

2.76 Goals Against Per Game (9th in the NHL)

20% Power Play (10th in the NHL)

85% Penalty Kill (6th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #37 Andrei Svechnikov ~ 12G 19A = 31pts

2. #19 Dougie Hamilton ~ 10G 18A = 28pts

3. #86 Teuvo Teravainen ~ 7G 19A = 26pts

4. #20 Sebastian Aho ~ 13G 9A = 22pts

5. #18 Ryan Dzingel ~ 5G 11A = 16pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #6 Joel Edmundson ~ 41 PIM’s

2. #21 Nino Niederreiter ~ 20 PIM’s

3. #19 Dougie Hamilton ~ 20 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #34 Petr Mrazek (12-6-1)  2.63GAA  .903%SP  2SO

2. #47 James Reimer (5-5-0)  2.58GAA  .918%SP  1SO

Lines:

Carolina Hurricanes

Svechnikov~J.Staal~Foegele

Niederreiter~Aho~Teravainen

Dzingel~Wallmark~Martinook

McGinn~Bishop~Gibbons

Slavin~Hamilton

Edmundson~Pesce

Fleury~Gardiner

Mrazek

Reimer

Minnesota Wild

Zucker~Staal~Zuccarello

Parise~Kunin~Fiala

Greenway~Eriksson Ek~Hartman

Foligno~Rask~Donato

Suter~Dumba

Soucy~Brodin

Seeler~Hunt

Stalock

Kahkonen

 

So this week, the weather has been relatively nice here in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Although I have to stress the word relatively. Right around Thanksgiving, the weather was a bit brutal, and made is difficult to travel for the holiday. My local NBC affiliate here in Wisconsin, was encouraging people to get out and put up their Christmas lights this week because it’s been dry and not very cold. The irony though, this nice week weather-wise, the Minnesota Wild have been on the road, in particular in the southeast United States. We’ve already found two wins in Florida, and now attempting a win in Carolina. When they return to Minnesota for their 3-game homestand, the weather is most likely going to be back to being horrid winter weather. Snow, ice, and cold temps. I hope your snow blower is in tip-top shape and you have your bags of ice melt ready to go. But hey, considering the stress this team causes their fanbase, they deserve to experience the same winter weather driving experiences as the rest of us.

If you were browsing online about stories about the Minnesota Wild, you probably came across the article by Michael Russo on The Athletic. In this article, the headline is a bit sensational, albeit true. In a one month span, the Wild have gone from dead last in the league to a playoff spot. Yes, it feels good. It’s been fun to watch, albeit a bit stressful, but as Bruce Boudreau sarcastically said in Russo’s article, it is smoke and mirrors. Trust me people, if you’re riding the playoff spot high, I beg you to find a healthy dose of reality. You will stay far more sane if you do. And here is that dose of reality for you. Yes, the Minnesota Wild is in a playoff spot now. But this is a team that without fail, will at some point will have an epic meltdown. For a team that made that playoffs for all those years, we still saw those meltdowns. There’s usually been a month during the course of a season, where it’s just ugly hockey. Those bad months eventually come back to bite the team in the butt. Now, there had been seasons where the Wild lucked out and had a last minute rally in the last week or two of the season. However, most of those seasons, Minnesota had to back into the playoffs, having to depend on other on the cusp teams failed more than the Wild. So I don’t believe this recent point-streak and win-streak is sustainable.

I suppose we should have a personnel discussion. As mentioned earlier, Jared Spurgeon is out with his broken hand. Also, Mikko Koivu has been put on Injured Reserve for his lower-body injury. With those injuries, Minnesota has re-called a couple of guy’s from Iowa. For defense, Brennan Menell got the call, but he didn’t play in Tampa Bay, and it’s uncertain if he will dress against Carolina either. For Koivu’s absence, it was Nico Sturm getting tapped on the shoulder, again unsure if he’ll get to play tonight. On defense, play by Carson Soucy and Nick Seeler on Thursday was decent enough, that it will make it difficult for Menell to crack the lineup. When it comes to forwards, a goal by Victor Rask might make it hard for Boudreau to scratch him. Especially, when you’re playing the team that traded you. While I’m far from being any sort of Rask fan, would it be too snarky of me to mention that Rask has the same number of goals as Nino Niederreiter? Since last year’s playoff run for the Hurricanes, Niederreiter has been a bit MIA.

Enjoy the ride my friends. Enjoy the nice-ish weather that we currently have. Soon, it will be no more. Enjoy the Wild’s current spot in the standings. Eventually, this team will crash and burn. As found in the Bible, “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.”

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