Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Carolina Hurricanes 2/12/22 @ 7:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (28-11-3)  59pts  3rd in the Central
3.74 Goals For Per Game (3rd in the NHL)
2.83 Goals Against Per Game (14th in the NHL)
19.2% Power Play (19th in the NHL)
80.1% Penalty Kill (15th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 19G 34A = 53pts
2. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 14G 28A = 42pts
3. #22 Kevin Fiala ~ 13G 21A = 34pts
4. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 18G 15A = 33pts
5. #47 Alex Goligoski ~ 2G 23A = 25pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #21 Brandon Duhaime ~ 56 PIM’s
2. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 48 PIM’s
3. #18 Jordan Greenway ~ 37 PIM’s
Top Goaltenders:
1. #33 Cam Talbot (18-8-1)  2.81GAA  .913SV% 1SO
2. #34 Kaapo Kahkonen (10-3-2)  2.44GAA  .924SV%
Vs.
Carolina Hurricanes (32-10-3)  67pts  1st in the Metropolitan
3.51 Goals For Per Game (5th in the NHL)
2.36 Goals Against Per Game (1st in the NHL)
24.8% Power Play (8th in the NHL)
89.3% Penalty Kill (1st in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #20 Sebastian Aho ~ 21G 27A = 48pts
2. #37 Andrei Svechnikov ~ 18G 24A = 42pts
3. #77 Tony DeAngelo ~ 8G 28A = 36pts
4. #86 Teuvo Teravainen ~ 11G 24A = 35pts
5. #16 Vincent Trocheck ~ 13G 19A = 32pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #28 Ian Cole ~ 53 PIM’s
2. #16 Vincent Trocheck ~ 51 PIM’s
3. #37 Andrei Svechknikov ~ 51 PIM’s
Top Goaltenders:
1. #31 Frederik Andersen (54-6-1)  2.08GAA  .930SV%  2SO
2. #32 Antti Raanta (6-3-1)  2.39GAA  .909SV%  1SO
Lines:
Carolina Hurricanes
 
Martinook~Aho~Necas
A. Svechnikov~Trocheck~Jarvis
Neiderreiter~J.Staal~Fast
Lorentz~Stepan~Leivo
 
Slavin~DeAngelo
Skjei~Pesce
Smith~Cole
 
Andersen
Raanta
Minnesota Wild
Kaprizov~Hartman~Zuccarello
Fiala~F.Gaudreau~Boldy
Greenway~Eriksson Ek~Duhaime
Chaffee?~Sturm~Dewar
Goligoski~Spurgeon
Jo.Benn~Brodin
Merrill~Kulikov
Talbot
Kahkonen
Well my dear readers, I’m just going to pretend that Tuesday’s game in Winnipeg simply didn’t happen. I’m not sure that can happen, but I’m going with it. And I suggest that you and the team go with that as well. I can’t begin to explain how frustrating that game was. But then again, it was a game against the Winnipeg Jets, a team that always manages to find its way under the Wild’s skin. And because of that ability of that particular opponent, the Wild are now without Marcus Foligno tonight as well as the game against Detroit.
This is one of those games I’m not looking forward to. Firstly, just looking at Carolina’s numbers. When you’re facing a team that sitting at the top of the Metropolitan Division, you can’t ignore them. And to add to that feat, they’re most recent game, was a 6-0 drubbing of the Boston Bruins, in Boston. Secondly, it feels like Carolina players can score seemingly “at will”. When it came to updating the offensive stats (as we had prepped this article earlier this week), the only player I didn’t have to update was Tony DeAngelo. Everyone else had goals and assists in that game, and the other four guys had multiple points in that game. Thirdly, they’re not too shabby on the defensive side of the puck either. This could very well be a recipe for disaster, especially after the embarrassing game in Winnipeg.
I think what’s really annoying about this game, is I’m pretty sure we had a game scheduled against Carolina back in December and it was postponed by the Hurricanes. The pathetic part of that postponement, again by the opposition, was that Carolina was missing only like three players. Of course, one of those missing players due to Covid-19 Protocol was Sebastian Aho. Nope, we can’t play if we’re missing our leading scorer. I don’t know about you, but I would have much rather played the Hurricanes when the Wild were really handing it to the opposition. Plus, it would have helped reduce some of the upcoming scheduling logjam we have this week. I hate to break it to you, but we have many weeks like this on the horizon.
And now, both teams are healthy for the most part. Minnesota is still without Nick Bjugstad, but it’s not like he’s mission critical to this team’s success. Carolina is without Jesperi Kotkaniemi (Covid-19 Protocol) and Jake Gardiner (IR, back). So yes, two very healthy teams. However, I’m trying not to look at this game with a doom and gloom mentality. If you think this is an easy win, you’re either living under a rock or living in the past. Yet at the same time, Minnesota has proven that they can take down top teams. So much for that “lack of depth”, right Anson Carter?
So, what to the Wild need to do tonight? Firstly, they need to keep things simple. The Wild are a team that likes to make things complicated, and that can often spell their downfall. I don’t know about you, but this is a team that loves to look for the complicated pass as opposed to a shot on goal. Secondly, they need to give up on this insistence on the drop pass. I am getting sick and tired of this team of giving up possession in the offensive zone before it can do anything, but they keep doing it. Thirdly, they Minnesota Wild need to everything they can do to stay out of the penalty box. While the Hurricanes aren’t at the top of the standings when it comes to the power play, it’s still not something worth chancing.
Just like I said going into the game agains the Jets, Minnesota needs to set the tone early tonight. The thing is though, is that we know they can do it. We’ve seen it, but not always when we need it. As I mentioned about staying out of the penalty box, but they’re going to need to push on their own power plays. However that will be difficult. If you were to look at the numbers, you would notice that Carolina has the league’s best penalty kill. But then we cannot depend on power play either.
Tonight is dependent on which version of the Wild shows up. However, if they can show us the team that has beaten Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Boston, then we stand a good chance. If it’s Tuesday night’s team, well we will have to be prepared for mediocrity.