Game #56: Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks, Tuesday February 14, 2012 at 6:30pm (CST), Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (25-22-8) 58 4th Northwest 2.18 (29) 2.51 (9) 14.6% (24)

82.4% (13)

Anaheim Ducks
(22-24-9) 53 5th Pacific 2.58 (17) 2.87 (22) 17.8% (13) 83.7% (10)


Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 18 21 39
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 9 25 34
3. #21 Kyle Brodziak 15 14 29
4. #7 Matt Cullen 11 18 29
5. #96 Pierre-Marc Bouchard 9 13 22
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 79
2. #4 Clayton Stoner 47
3. #21 Kyle Brodziak 43
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (14-15-5) 2.37 .922
2. #37 Josh Harding (9-7-3) 2.55 .920
3. #31 Matt Hackett (2-0-0) 0.85 .977
Anaheim Ducks
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #8 Teemu Selanne 18 33 51
2. #14 Corey Perry 26 18 44
3. #15 Ryan Getzlaf 8 31 41
4. #9 Bobby Ryan 21 13 34
5. #11 Saku Koivu 10 19 29
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #14 Corey Perry 75
2. #15 Ryan Getzlaf 55
3. #39 Matt Beleskey 52
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #1 Jonas Hiller (19-19-9) 2.76 .906
2. #43 Jeff Deslauriers  (1-0-0)  2.00 .929
3. #38 Dan Ellis (1-5-0) 2.72 .911
4. #31 Irio Tarkki (1-0-0) 4.39 .700

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  It’s one of those phrases that come to mind when someone on top has fallen.  We’ve seen it with Wall Street billionaire tycoons find themselves in financial straits.  Or when politicians who preach some overly moral message find themselves in a sex scandel.  Or sports teams who were on top find themselves struggling.  It’s human nature to want to see the mighty fall.  We love to see people fail.  It seems sick and perverse, but I think it’s because we wish to see other suffer as we may have suffered.

However, in the case of the Minnesota Wild, I don’t think “mighty” is truly the right word.  “Lucky” is more like it.  We’ve not been mighty at all, and I don’t think we truly ever have been.  The Wild have been one of those teams from the beginning that simply capitalizes on the mistakes of others and make them pay for those mistakes.  The team was raised by the godfather of that method in Jacques Lemaire.  Unfortunately for Lemaire, he was never given the tools to take this team to the next level on a yearly basis.  When you’re handed ragtag players, you can only do so much.  And even the most critical of Lemaire’s style have to admit it was impressive what he did in his tenure in Minnesota.

Those who are “mighty” usually have a reason to be so.  When you look at the teams that are sitting at the top of the conferences you realize that they have the firepower that creates that certain swagger.  We don’t have their talent-laden rosters.  We don’t have their commitment to winning.  And the list goes on and on.  These teams have their well-deserved egos.  That’s not to say that the Wild aren’t without egos, as proven by Marek Zidlicky.  Successful teams find ways for those egos to create success.  Teams that struggle find that egos get in the way.  The kicker is, the Wild have no reason to have egos right now.

As I sit here, I have to admit that it’s getting harder and harder to watch the games.  I find that I don’t watch the games as closely.  Sure, it’s exciting for that one goal that the Wild always seem to score.  However, it’s just that, one goal.  One goal these days for the Wild is not enough to coming close to winning.  I’ll admit, when we score that one goal, lately I’ve taken to saying “good night, folks” because I know there are no more coming.  I know, it’s sarcastic and negative, but what have the Wild done to change that mentality?  Nothing.  And I’m not the only fan who feels that way.

Now back to that old saying.  For the Wild, I’ve rewritten it:

Oh, how the lucky have fallen.

Injury Report:

Minnesota:      Cal Clutterbuck (charley horse, doubtful), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),   Clayton Stoner (leg)    

Dan Ellis (groin), Matt Smaby (thumb)

Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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