Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Florida Panthers 1/20/2020 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Florida Panthers 1/20/2020 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center


Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Florida Panthers 1/20/2020 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center


Minnesota Wild (22-20-6)  50pts  7th in the Central

3.06 Goals For Per Game (14th in the NHL)

3.27 Goals Against Per Game (26th in the NHL)

19.7% Power Play (17th in the NHL)

75.5% Penalty Kill (26th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #12 Eric Staal ~ 16G 19A = 35pts

2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 7G 26A = 33pts

3 .#11 Zach Parise ~ 18G 12A = 30pts

4. #16 Jason Zucker ~ 13G 14A = 27pts

5. #22 Kevin Fiala ~ 9G 18A = 27pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 50 PIM’s

2. #19 Luke Kunin ~ 48 PIM’s

3. #18 Jordan Greenway ~ 39 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #32 Alex Stalock (11-7-3)  2.83GAA  .907%SP  2SO

2. #40 Devan Dubnyk (8-12-2)  3.35GAA  .891%SP  1SO




Florida Panthers (26-16-5)  57pts  3rd in the Atlantic

3.64 Goals For Per Game (1st in the NHL)

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

24.0% Power Play (6th in the NHL)

79.1% Penalty Kill (20th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Jonathan Huberdeau ~ 18G 46A = 64pts

2. #16 Aleksander Barkov ~ 15G 36A = 51pts

3. #63 Evgenii Dadonov ~ 21G 17A = 38pts

4. #68 Mike Hoffman ~ 18G 19A = 37pts

5. #3 Keith Yandle ~ 4G 31A = 35pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #2 Josh Brown ~ 28 PIM’s

2. #21 Vincent Trocheck ~ 25 PIM’s

3. #14 Dominic Toninato ~ 25 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #72 Sergei Bobrovsky (17-12-2)  3.22GAA  .898%SP  1SO

2. #33 Samuel Montembault (4-2-1)  3.35GAA  .888%SP


Florida Panthers










Minnesota Wild



Foligno~Eriksson Ek~Kunin








The vast majority of us, if we take the time to think about it, all have a teacher or professor that we learned a lot of academic as well as life lessons from. I would also say, that teacher or professor was (at the time) seemed unbelievably harsh or tough on us. We received grades from them, that in our young minds, we didn’t deserve. Meaning we think we should have received a better grade on a test, paper, or course altogether. For me, it was Dr. Hanson, my music history professor. Because I attended a small liberal arts college with a very close music department, I knew going in her classes were going to be difficult and that much was going to be expected of me. My first class with her was an overall music history survey course. I came out of that class with a C for a final grade. While not the best grade, I wore that grade like a badge of honor, because it means that I survived. I took three more classes from Dr. Hanson, loving each and every one. She pushed me to become a better student and a better person.

This should be a time that the Minnesota Wild is learning a lot about themselves. When things are down, how do you learn from your mistakes. Do you treat it just as another day? Do you try to ignore the problems? Do you need to look at yourself? That’s the thing though, I don’t always feel like this team really looks at themselves very closely. When you listen to just about any interview with most of the players, you hear the same cliches and platitudes each and every time. The fact that it’s the same thing over and over again, you would think they would realize that they’re playing the same game over and over again. They say that they don’t want to play the same game over and over, but when you rarely see attempts at change, you really have to wonder. But considering that they have these guaranteed contracts, there’s really no incentive to be better. But perhaps the loss of playoff bonuses will make a difference. One can only hope.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m taking such a dire stance when the Wild have won their last two games. Yes, they won and they won against teams that playing well overall right now. But the question is whether or not they will actually continue with lessons well learned. Let’s start with goaltending. Looking at how he played Saturday night, one would hope that Alex Stalock will get the start tonight. Not only did he play well Saturday night, that win became two consecutive wins as he survived the high scoring Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night as well. He’s played well against two teams who can and will score. But the question now is will he get his third consecutive start? If he does, it too will be against the team with the best goals for per game in the entire league. Yes, you read that correctly, the once lowly Florida Panthers are the league’s scoring leaders. I have a bad feeling that someone in the organization will make the boneheaded move to start Devan Dubnyk instead of the current hot hand. And that’s not the only question. Considering that the Wild are a bit flush with skaters right now, the question is how among the forwards will be scratched tonight. I don’t know about the rest of you, but not having the slow, plodding Mikko Koivu in the lineup on Saturday was refreshing. Ryan Donato plays the game we wish Koivu could, but he doesn’t have the speed that one needs on a decent fourth line. Sure, your fourth line isn’t always the fastest line, but you need some agility and speed, and Koivu isn’t that guy.

So tonight, we’re facing the team that pretty much no one is talking about, but should. I’m guilty of this as well. I know for myself, I was shocked to see Florida sitting at the top of the league in regards to goals for per game, at 3.64 goals per game. I don’t know about you, but that is scary good. And considering how Minnesota struggles as preventing goals, you have to wonder how we’re going to survive the onslaught. And they’re almost as successful on the power play at 24.0%, which puts them in 6th place. The 76 goals their top five scorers have prove this. Again, the Wild trail with their 63 goals amongst their top five scorers. But like Minnesota struggles to keep goals out of their net, Florida is having much of the same issues, both even strength and on the penalty kill. What saves Florida’s season and their third place ranking in the Atlantic Division, is that ability to outscore their opponents. Tonight will truly be a battle of “who will give up fewer goals.”

Knowing our luck, this team will make changes that don’t need to change. We’ll go back to things that don’t work. We’ll use personnel that doesn’t work just because. I just hope that I’m proven wrong.

More Sports


Tonight’s Harvey Day prequel featured two great starting pitching performances, two Mets injuries, two notorious Mets killers teaming up (…)

More Wild