Minnesota Wild (5-2-0) 10pts 2nd in the Central
3.00 Goals For Per Game (14th in the NHL)
3.14 Goals Against Per Game (23rd in the NHL)
16.7% Power Play (21st in the NHL)
73.3% Penalty Kill (27th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 0G 6A = 6pts
2. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 2G 3A = 5pts
3. #14 Joel Eriksson Ek ~ 3G 1A = 4pts
4. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 1G 3A = 4pts
5. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 3G 0A = 3pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 30 PIM’s
2. #24 Matthew Dumba ~ 8 PIM’s
3. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 8 PIM’s
1. #33 Cam Talbot (5-1-0) 2.47GAA .914%SP
2. #34 Kaapo Kahkonen (0-1-0) 5.36GAA .828%SP
Colorado Avalanche (3-4-0) 6pts 6th in the Central
2.71 Goals For Per Game (20th in the NHL)
3.71 Goals Against Per Game (30th in the NHL)
11.1% Power Play (29th in the NHL)
85% Penalty Kill (12th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 1G 6A = 7pts
2. #37 J.T. Compher ~ 4G 2A = 6pts
3. #8 Cale Makar ~ 2G 4A = 6pts
4. #96 Mikko Rantanen ~ 3G 2A = 5pts
5. #91 Nazem Kadri ~ 2G 3A = 5pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #91 Nazem Kadri ~ 24 PIM’s
2. #3 Jack Johnson ~ 20 PIM’s
3. #92 Gabriel Landeskog ~ 10 PIM’s
1. #35 Darcy Kuemper (3-3-0) 3.19GAA .893%SP
2. #35 J. Johansson (0-1-0) 3.03GAA .919%SP
J. Johnson~E. Johnson
Last game, I posted a video of the opening to the TV show M*A*S*H. Clearly, I had a bit of a Nostradamus moment as Covid-19 and injuries are forcing the Minnesota Wild to make a bunch of roster moves prior to tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.
At first it was the news that Mats Zuccarello and Rem Pitlick had tested positive for Covid-19 and then that fact was re-confirmed after Minnesota’s 4-1 loss to Seattle on Thursday so that means both players are out of the lineup for a minimum of 10 days. And even after that 10 day quarantine, they have to be symptom free before they can even return to practice. I wouldn’t be surprised if more players end up on the protocol, especially since the team is on the road. When you’re on a plane, and in a smaller road locker room, and in a hotel, there’s a lot more close contact with others that may also have Covid-19. While I expect more Covid-19 cases to show up in the next few days, the injuries are also starting to appear. First, it was Dimitri Kulikov and Alex Goligoski, to go down with day-to-day injuries, per the TSN.com injuries list. Looking at my Yahoo! Fantasy app, Kulikov is listed with lower-body and day-t0-day. Goligoski is a bit more interesting when I look him up. He’s listed as “out” with an upper-body and will be out 1-2 weeks. I’ve noticed that tends to be the way people are often marked for Covid-19 protocol before they’re announced to be out with Covid. Yes, this is just a suppositional observation on my point, but we’ll see. Now, we can add Jordan Greenway to the injury list, as he’s been added to the injured reserve list with a lower body injury. The bodies are piling up, and I think this is just the beginning.
Before Greenway had been added to IR, there were already some roster moves made. First off John Lizotte was reassigned to Iowa. Taking his place is Calen Addison. He will most likely be on the top pairing with Jared Spurgeon. Addison is a more mobile defenseman, and against a speedy Colorado Avalanche team, that is going to be needed. Against Seattle, Spurgeon’s parter was Jordie Benn, who is not overly quick. This would not be a good pair against Colorado, because Benn would have to log big minutes against the better lines of the Avalanche. In Iowa, Addison logs big minutes. Addison and Spurgeon should work well together, and it might be a glimpse into the team’s future. Also, we need to remember that Addison saw playoff minutes with Minnesota, so clearly the organization has some trust in him as opposed to your average call up. Benn will most likely end up on the third pair with Jon Merrill. Making his regular season debut tonight should also be Adam Beckman. During the pre-season, Beckman lead team goal scoring with four goals. Yes, I know that was pre-season and now this is the regular season, but one has to have a little bit of optimism from time to time. Of course, with his success during the pre-season, it again makes me wonder why this team insisted on signing Pitlick to begin with.
We again need to discuss the $9 million elephant in the room. I’m having a real hard time watching Kirill Kaprizov this season. I don’t know if it’s a head game for him. or if it’s the typical “meh” season a young player has after they sign their first big contract after their rookie contract, or if he’s just checked out and it looking for greener pastures. Here’s what he needs to figure out. If he is looking for those greener pastures, he needs to succeed now so that other teams keep him on their radar. A good rookie season and winning the Calder Trophy means nothing if you fail to produce after that. And right now, he’s failing to produce. It makes you wonder if he’s hiding an injury or he contracted Covid over the off-season and is now dealing with lingering effects of being sick. And trust me, those lingering effects can be brutal. Like I said in the Seattle preview, I’m still dealing with issues to my voice and the headaches.
If there was one positive out of Thursday night’s game, it was goaltending. Cam Talbot had a solid game, and some of the saves he made were pretty sweet. He was showing that he was a starting goaltender. Goaltenders are a team’s last line of defense, and when the skaters in front of them are struggling to provide adequate defense or to clear the zone, the goaltender has to come up with the big saves. And he did that. Even though the boxscore shows a 4-1 loss, it really was a 2-1 loss, as goals three and four were both empty net goals. And it could have been a different result altogether, if the goal by Marcus Foligno hadn’t been waived off. With all of the roster moves due to injury and Covid, we’re going to need to see more of this play by Talbot. And at some point, we’re going to need to see the same solid play from Kaapo Kahkonen.
Honestly, if Minnesota could just figure out the little problems, I think we would see a more confident and successful team. In the past couple of seasons, we’ve seen some major roster moves. The players that are still here need to realize that they’re the team now, and they need to figure things out for themselves. It’s almost like they haven’t realized that the lead weights are gone, and they’re allowed to do things differently. Maybe they just need Lord Buckethead to make a pre-game appearance to prevent things from becoming, in his epic words, a shitshow.