Minnesota Wild (19-11-5) 43pts 4th in the Central
2.20 Goals For (28th)
2.20 Goals Against (5th)
20.4% Power Play (8th)
78.3% Penalty Kill (25th)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #11 Zack Parise ~ 14G 12A = 26pts
2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 7G 18A = 25pts
3. #29 Jason Pominville ~ 15G 8A = 23pts
4. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 18A = 18pts
5. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 6G 10A = 16pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 43 PIM's
2. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 35 PIM's
3. #22 Nino Niederreiter ~ 22 PIM's
1. #37 Josh Harding (17-5-3) 1.49GAA .939%SP 3SO
2. #32 Niklas Backstrom (2-5-2) 2.93GAA .900%SP
Vancouver Canucks (20-10-5) 45pts 4th in the Pacific
2.77 Goals For (11th)
2.29 Goals Against (6th)
16.1% Power Play (21st)
90.2% Penalty Kill (1st)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #22 Daniel Sedin ~ 11G 20A = 31pts
2. #33 Henrik Sedin ~ 9G 22A = 31pts
3. #17 Ryan Kesler ~ 15G 11A = 26pts
4. #25 Mike Santorelli ~ 8G 16A = 24pts
5. #5 Jason Garrison ~ 4G 18A = 22pts
Top 3 PIM's:
1. #29 Tom Sestito ~ 77 PIM's
2. #9 Zack Kassian ~ 47 PIM's
3. #3 Kevin Bieksa ~ 32 PIM's
1. #1 Roberto Luongo (16-8-5) 2.19GAA .921%SP 3SO
2. #31 Eddie Lack (4-2-0) 2.08GAA .925%SP 1SO
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Tonight is a nother example of the changes to the National Hockey League. Ever since the Wild made their debut in the 2000-01 season, tonight would have been just another divisional game. Yet tonight is not a divisional game. Tonight is but one of three meetings with Vancouver (which truth of the matter, is fine by me). Welcome to the new NHL.
Just when you thought you'd never see this happen again, it just might. And what is this "something" I'm referring to? It seems that there's a very, very good chance that Vancouver will be starting none other than Roberto Luongo in goal tonight at Xcel Energy Center. For several years, we've only seen Cory Schneider or whoever else has been a goaltender in Vancouver. And just like we're in a new NHL, this is clearly a new Vancouver Canucks. Most notably this change comes from the very top, with new head coach John Tortorella. He clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, and that begins with his choice of most likely starting Luongo tonight. He probably figures that the Canucks' past has nothing to do with him. Of course considering how little Minnesota scores, he probably feels that he can buck superstition and play Luongo. Hopefully this is too much of a mental block for Vancouver to overcome.
Tonight would be a great night for win. Not only are the Canucks in town, but this is the last home game until the 29th. The upcoming road trip isn't going to pleasant. The only thing working in the Wild's favor is that three of the four games are against Eastern Conference opponents. I noticed this weekend while watching some of the coverage during Hockey Night In Canada that the Eastern Conference broadcasters are finally talking about the Western Conference's dominance of the Eastern Conference. With some of the very, very questionable (not to mention, phantom) calls against the Wild recently, it makes you wonder if we will see more of these same bogus calls in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, because God forbid the Wild would actually beat those teams.
The best hope Minnesota has tonight is if we get the usual Luongo when he plays in Minnesota. We also need to find some scoring for once. And when I talk about scoring, I don't mean playing catch up in the waning minutes of the game. They need to play three, solid periods of hockey, with scoring coming from all four lines. Heck, I'll take scoring from the defensemen as well. But the one thing Minnesota needs to do above all others is to stay out the penalty box. Don't give the officials even the appearance that you're trying to skirt the rules. Apologies after the fact by NHL head of officiating, Stephen Walkom about phantom calls don't change the fact that we got scored on during that double minor called on Zenon Konopka. Yes, I understand that referees are people too and make mistakes, but that call was so bad, I don't understand how it was even made. Marc Joannette was not even facing the play, yet still made the call. That's not just a mistake, it's a "let's make something up call." No wonder there's talk of a coach's challenge. Although, I have a feeling that if this ever happens, I have a feeling that coaches won't be able to challenge penalty calls.
I don't feel good about tonight, but lately I haven't felt good about most games. And until things really change, that's going to be the prevailing feeling.