Game #10: Minnesota Wild vs Detroit Red Wings, Saturday October 29, 2011 at 7:00pm (CDT), Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (3-3-3) 9 4th NW 2.00 (28) 2.44 (13) 13.9% (22)

74.2% (28)

Detroit Red Wings
(5-3-0) 10 2nd Central 2.75 (12) 2.75 (20) 17.1% (14) 75.9% (26)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 2 4 6
2. #7 Matt Cullen 4 1 5
3. #10 Devin Setoguchi 3 2 5
4. #48 Guillaume Latendresse 1 4 5
5. #96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard 0 4 4
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #16 Brad Staubitz 15
2. #48 Guillaume Latendresse 8
3. #21 Kyle Brodziak 6
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (3-3-2) 2.30 .912
2. #37 Josh Harding (0-0-1) 2.81 .927
Detroit Red Wings
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #93 Johan Franzen 4 3 7
2. #51 Valtteri Filppula 2 5 7
3. #13 Pavel Datsyuk 2 5 7
4. #5 Nicklas Lidstrom 2 4 6
5. #26 Jiri Hudler 2 2 4
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #93 Johan Franzen 10
2. #26 Jiri Hudler 10
3. #44 Todd Bertuzzi 10
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #35 Jimmy Howard (4-1-0) 1.98 .925
2. #29 Ty Conklin (1-2-0) 3.37 .882

I have to laugh this morning.

I popped over to the Minneapolis Star Tribune website.  The “big” Wild article for the day is one that should make longtime Wild fans simply shake their heads and say “I’ve been saying this forever.”  It seems the new game-plan set forth by head coach Mike Yeo is two-fold: “shoot the puck” and “get lots of traffic in front of the opposing goalkeeper.”  Well thank you Captain Obvious.  That has been the problem since Day One with this team.  However, I’d like to add a third and possibly fourth element to that game-plan, in that dumping the puck and passing to an area instead of a player need to go stop as well.  Personally, I think it’s rather sad (and scary) that a coach needs to tell professional hockey players this.  As Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  Perhaps that needs to be plastered all over the walls of the Wild’s locker room these days.

Oh and the line juggling will continue yet again tonight.  Tonight’s top line will feature Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu, and Guillaume Latendresse.  Like some other Wild fans out there, I have a feeling that it might not matter who the wings are on the top line, but the center.  However, to even imply that in certain circles is tantamount to heresy, so I won’t say any more on that particular subject.  Tonight’s second line will be Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi and the third line will be Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Brodziak, and Nick Johnson.  With all this shuffling around, one can only hope that the players get the hint and start playing like they should, especially the center I choose only to imply and not name.

Defense is also seeing some new faces.  Both Greg Zanon and Clayton Stoner will be out tonight.  With an already lacklustre blueline, things should get even more interesting.  Filling in will be enforcer-turned-defenseman, Matt Kassian who has been practicing at defense recently.  Also in action tonight will be Elk River, Minnesota-native, Nate Prosser who has been called up from the Houston Aeros.  If you thought your blueline was weak just with the trade of Brent Burns to San Jose, trust me people, it can get much, much worse.  At least Marco Scandella appears to care enough to do his job.

Fans can also expect to see Josh Harding starting in net tonight.  Considering how well he played against Detroit earlier this month, he could do no worse than Niklas Backstrom would do.  I’m just not holding out much hope for a victory.  In addition to the Ottawa Senators, Detroit is just one of those teams that it seems that Minnesota simply cannot get a win against.  All we can hope for, is that somehow between our skaters and Harding, they can keep the game close and possibly score at least one power play goal, as they’re bound to have at least a couple of chances with the extra man.  But then considering that the Wild scored two power play goals against Anaheim, they’re bound to have another drought.

Since I’ve channeled the Great One here today, I figure I would close today with one of those classic Bud Light “Hockey Falls” commercials.  This one features Gretzky, however he’s not really the focus.  It is the fan in the Rangers jersey who is supposed to be presenting Gretzky with the key to the city.  The star-struck fan seems to be clueless to all around him.  Right now, that fan pretty much embodies the Minnesota Wild.  Sadly, oblivious to what needs to happen.

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