Minnesota Wild (12-6-1) 25pts 3rd in Honda West
3.21 Goals For Per Game (10th in the NHL)
2.58 Goals Against Per Game (6th in the NHL)
7.9% Power Play (31st in the NHL)
82.6% Penalty Kill (9th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 6G 11A = 17pts
2. #18 Jordan Greenway ~ 3G 12A = 15pts
3. #14 Joel Eriksson Ek ~ 8G 4A = 12pts
4. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 6G 5A = 11pts
5. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 3G 8A = 11pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #22 Kevin Fiala ~ 29 PIM’s
2. #18 Jordan Greenway ~ 24 PIM’s
3. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 22 PIM’s
1. #33 Cam Talbot (4-2-1) 2.55GAA .917%SP
2. #34 Kaapo Kahkonen (8-4-0) 2.41GAA .915%SP
Vegas Golden Knights (13-4-1) 27pts 1st in Honda West
3.11 Goals For Per Game (13th in the NHL)
2.17 Goals Against Per Game (2nd in the NHL)
20.7% Power Play (17th in the NHL)
87.5% Penalty Kill (4th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #61 Mark Stone ~ 4G 18A = 22pts
2. #67 Max Pacioretty ~ 10G 6A = 16pts
3. #89 Alex Tuch ~ 8G 6A = 14pts
4. #71 William Karlsson ~ 5G 9A = 14pts
5. #27 Shea Theodore ~ 3G 11A = 14pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #81 Jonathan Marchessault ~ 22 PIM’s
2. #61 Mark Stone ~ 13 PIM’s
3. #89 Alex Tuch ~ 12 PIM’s
1. #29 Marc-Andre Fleury (10-3-0) 1.77GAA .935%SP 3SO
2. # Robin Lehner (3-1-1) 2.96GAA .890%SP
Vegas Golden Knights
If you’re a member of Gen X (or just post-Gen X), you are well aware of the “The More You Know” graphic. These classic Public Service Announcements launched on September 9, 1989 on NBC. They feature actors and other celebrities and three former Presidents, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barak Obama as well as former First Lady, Michelle Obama. For some reason, my middle-aged brain has me thinking these were aired during Saturday morning cartoons, but it seems I’m confusing NBC’s campaign with ABC’s Schoolhouse Rocks and cartoons like G.I. Joe and The A-Team which all featured educational and public service announcement formats. Of course during my research, and looking at the videos, now I see where they were more likely broadcast during prime time. Regardless of when they were aired, they provided valuable information to millions of viewers. And of course, they’ve become an indelible part of our identity, as that icon is instantly recognized by people of all ages.
Well, we know one thing about this team. We know they can score goals. Better yet, we know they can score goals against teams that allow very few goals. But Monday night’s game has told us other truths as well, and I think it’s those truths that are the most uncomfortable. Or at least should be. However, with this team, you never really know if they learn from their mistakes. And what mistake am I talking about today? Well, this is a team that historically can’t maintain a lead. They went into the second intermission and almost half of the third period with a 4-2 lead, on the road, in Las Vegas. It’s like they got to the 8 minute mark of the third and thought “hey, we’ve got this one”. They seem to always let up on the gas exactly when they shouldn’t. Where they get the idea that they can just coast, I have no clue. This is not a team that really has ever been a powerhouse, yet too often they play stretches of games like they are. This needs to change, but I just don’t know if it ever will.
Yet, even with that complaint, I don’t want to be completely negative. There were great things that came out of Monday night’s game. When you get a goal from Jordan Greenway, Nick Bonino and two from Marcus Foligno, it feels like things are clicking. At least for the guys who don’t normally contribute to offense. It feels like the third and fourth lines have come to play this season, and it’s nice to see. However, I would like to see a little more balance. While Greenway’s goal comes from the first line, it feels like there are too many times when the first line is absent from the boxscore. Of course, the Wild’s first line compared to most teams’ first lines feels a bit anemic at times. There are several players that I tend to forget that are even on this team most nights. Yes, I’m looking at you Zach Parise, Kevin Fiala, and Jared Spurgeon. To a degree, I want to add Nick Bjugstad to that list, but then I remember he’s a fourth line player getting fourth line time. So who knows at this point. It’s just hard to watch.
I really wish I could have watched this game Monday night. With the ongoing dispute between Sinclair Broadcasting and pretty much every TV provider, including streaming services, it’s hard to feel like you’re connected. My “source” for watching the game Monday night was giving us grief during the pre-game, and just refused to stay open. We ended up listening to the game via an Amazon Echo device, however due to the lateness of the game and having to listen, we only survived the first period. I really wish the NHL and the other sports leagues would put some serious pressure on Sinclair. I would imagine that NBA fans are feeling this frustration as well, and as soon the MLB season resumes, those fans are going to blacked out as well. However, this is worse than a blackout. This isn’t like where the team would blackout the game because the game wasn’t a sellout. No, this is everyone being effected, well for the vast majority of us who don’t pay DirectTV and whatever the name of AT&T’s television service is called. I find blackouts to be childish in general and only punish the fans. But this is beyond petty and is nothing more than a money grabbing monopoly by Sinclair.
I’m definitely hoping for a better result in tonight’s re-match against Vegas. Again, they’re not a team that’s so good that they can’t be beat. Their team stats and even their individual stats are middle of the road. Sure, they have some areas where they excel, but nothing that can’t be overcome. I feel like too many teams are still buying into the mythos of their inaugural season. They’ve somehow gotten into the minds of the other 30 teams in the league, and it’s time for this to stop. They never experienced expansion team growing pains. But then they never had to pick from players of the calibre of Ladislav Benysek like Minnesota had to. I know, I know, they’ll just say “but we had a $500 million expansion fee, so we deserve better for that price tag.” With Seattle’s arrival soon, we’ll probably see more of this catering to the detriment of other teams. Although, if Seattle doesn’t get the red carpet, white glove treatment like Vegas did, we’ll know there was more going on behind the scenes than the NHL and Vegas would like us to know.
Every game gives us more information about this team. Hopefully the team learns from this information and puts it to use. And more importantly, learn from the mistakes made.