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Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 11/28/21 @ 1:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (13-6-1)  27pts  1st in the Central

3.60 Goals For Per Game (4th in the NHL)

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

15.9% Power Play (23rd in the NHL)

80.0% Penalty Kill (20th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 6G 16A = 22pts

2. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 6G 10A = 16pts

3. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 11G 4A = 15pts

4. #22 Kevin Fiala ~ 3G 11A = 14pts

5. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 7G 6A = 13pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 41 PIM’s

2. #21 Brandon Duhaime ~ 35 PIM’s

3. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 21 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #33 Cam Talbot (11-5-0)  2.75GAA  .913SV%

2. #34 Kaapo Kahkonen (2-1-1)  3.30GAA  .870SV%

 

Vs.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning (12-4-3)  27pts  3rd in the Atlantic

3.16 Goals For Per Game (11th in the NHL)

2.68 Goals Against Per Game (8th in the NHL)

19.3% Power Play (14th in the NHL)

86.4% Penalty Kill (8th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #91 Steven Stamkos ~ 11G 12A = 23pts

2. #77 Victor Hedman ~ 3G 15A = 18pts

3. #17 Alex Killorn ~ 7G 10A = 17pts

4. #71 Anthony Cirelli ~ 6G 6A = 12pts

5. #18 Ondrej Palat ~ 4G 8A = 12pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #14 Pat Maroon ~ 35 PIM’s

2. #71 Anthony Cirelli ~ 23 PIM’s

3. #17 Alex Killorn ~ 22 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #88 Andrei Vasilevskiy (10-3-3)  2.09GAA  .926SV%  2SO

2. #1 Brian Elliott (2-1-0)  3.30GAA  .878SV%

Lines:

Tampa Bay Lightning

Palat~Stamkos~Barre-Boulet

Killorn~Cirelli~Joseph

Katchouk~Colton~Raddysh

Maroon~Bellemare~Perry

Hedman~Rutta

McDonagh~Bogosian

Sergachev~Foote

Vasilevskiy

Elliott

Minnesota Wild

Kaprizov~Hartman~Zuccarello

Greenway~Eriksson Ek~M. Foligno

R. Pitlick~F. Gaudreau~Fiala

Duhaime~Sturm~Bjugstad

Brodin~Dumba

Merrill~Goligoski

Jo. Benn~Kulikov

Talbot

Kahkonen

 

One holiday down…500 more to go. At least that’s what it feels like. We’re officially in that time of the year, where it feels like you can never just sit down, put your feet up, and catch your breath. I feel like this, and I don’t even bother to attempt the Black Friday sales. I tried it once, was not impressed, and never ventured forth at 4am again. Sorry, but catching some extra sleep when I have days off is far more important than trying to get a 50″ television for $100. For some people, getting their holiday shopping completed is stressful. I on the other hand have most of that task completed. What has me stressed out is the logistics of actually seeing family. My work schedule is actually conducive to seeing everyone. However, Mother Nature isn’t always in on the plan. As long as she doesn’t make travel difficult, life will be grand. And considering I was sick with Covid last Christmas, I think I deserve to have a stress-free holiday.

As the old saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold. After last week’s shootout loss to the Lightning, revenge should be on the minds of the Minnesota Wild. Sure, the game between the two non-conference foes didn’t get that chippy, but sometimes that can bring out the emotional intensity that may otherwise not exist. Minnesota will need to dig deep to avoid a season series sweep at the hands of the Lightning.

Even without Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, the Lightning still have speed, skill, and scoring in its lineup. Led by team captain, Steven Stamkos, the veteran is scoring at better than a point per game pace. He’s also lighting the lamp in over half of their games so far. Must be nice. Alex Killorn and Pat Maroon may not be the smoothest players to watch, but they both are experts at doing the tough tasks to help their team win. Both have the knack for timely goals and knowing how to inspire their team with some physical play. Ondrej Palat is skilled but streaky, and the Lightning would like more production from their Czech winger. Anthony Cirelli is a Swiss Army Knife of a player, who can play at center or on the wing, and can do a little bit of everything.

On defense, Victor Hedman is still one of the most complete players in the league at his position. He combines great mobility with a 6’6″ frame and a terrific skill set to match. Ryan McDonagh is the quiet workhorse for the Lightning. The former Cretin-Derham Hall star makes smart plays at both ends of the ice. His defensive partner, Zach Bogosian, is the feisty, stay-at-home presence. Mikail Sergachev is a skilled two-way defenseman, on Tampa Bay’s third pairing.

Since both Minnesota and Tampa Bay are not both playing the second night of a back-to-back like they were when they faced each other last week, one would expect coaches Dean Evason and Jon Cooper would go with their starting goaltenders. Minnesota challenged backup goaltender Brian Elliott. If Cooper starts Andrei Vasilevskiy, it’s going to be a much different game. It will also be a much more difficult game. This also means that Cam Talbot will most likely get the start for Minnesota. We need him to play like he did on Friday against Winnipeg. Now mind you, he got a lot of “support” from the pipes. It almost felt like the Jets thought “well if I hit the pipes, that’s the same as a goal, right?” Trust me, the Lightning aren’t playing that game. They shoot to score. They shoot to win. None of this “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” nonsense.

What the Wild have going in their favor right now, is that they are scoring. In their last two home games, Minnesota has put up seven in each of those last two home games, Dallas and Winnipeg being the lucky foes. And let’s remember, in those losses last week to Florida and Tampa Bay, they lost both games by one point. Even more impressive, is that the Lightning had to take the Wild to the shootout to ultimately win. Tampa Bay is not invincible, but Minnesota has to be willing to shoot and put pressure on the Lightning for a full sixty minutes. They can’t hope to have one good period, and think that’s enough to win. Again, this is the time to get revenge by stealing both points. I don’t care how they do it, just that they do. It’s just going to be much harder today, facing Vasilevskiy and a rested Lightning.

I don’t know about you, but we plan our meals for the week and make one trip to the grocery store. I find it difficult to plan meals after a holiday, because I feel like Thanksgiving kind of overdoes things. I don’t want any chicken, because that’s too much like turkey. I don’t want to look at potatoes for a bit. And to make matters worse, because it was food overload, I kind of just want to eat peanut butter sandwiches. Leftovers need to not be a thing for about two weeks. Time to put Thanksgiving away for another year and look ahead to getting out of 2021 in one piece. That right there would be the best form of revenge.

About Derek Felska

I am a hockey blogger originally from Elk River, MN. I have been blogging about Minnesota hockey for over 13 years and I like to cover it from the NHL on down to High School hockey. I try to provide honest, objective perspective from a 'non-homer' sort of fan. I hope my work reflects this approach.

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