Game Preview: Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings, Thursday April 4, 2013 at 9:30pm (CDT), Staples Center

Minnesota Wild (21-13-2)  44pts  1st in the Northwest

2.67 Goals For (14th)

2.58 Goals Against (14th)

17.5% Power Play (21st)

81.4% Penalty Kill (14th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 9G 24A = 33pts

2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 15G 16A = 31pts

3. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 3G 25A = 28pts

4. #7 Matt Cullen ~ 7G 18A = 25pts

5. #10 Devin Setoguchi ~ 12G 11A = 23pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 96 PIM's

2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 65 PIM's

3. #44 Justin Falk ~ 38 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (19-9-2)  2.45GAA  .913%SP  1 SO

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper (1-2-0)  2.22GAA  .924%SP

3. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.92GAA  .885%SP  1 SO

 

Vs.

 

Los Angeles Kings (20-13-3)  43pts  3rd in the Pacific

2.86 Goals For (8th)

2.47 Goals Against (9th)

19.0% Power Play (13th)

81.7% Penalty Kill (11th)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Anze Kopitar ~ 10G 22A = 32pts

2. #14 Justin Williams ~ 8G 17A = 25pts

3. #77 Jeff Carter ~ 20G 4A = 24pts

4. #23 Dustin Brown ~ 14G 9A = 23pts

5. #10 Mike Richards ~ 8G 14A = 22pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #5 Keaten Ellerby ~ 50 PIM's

2. #13 Kyle Clifford ~ 41 PIM's

3. #10 Mike Richards ~ 40 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Jonathan Quick (12-11-3  2.54GAA  .896%SP  1 SO

2. #45 Jonathan Bernier (8-2-0)  1.95GAA  .919%SP 

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Clayton Stoner

 

One of my other great loves in life besides hockey is opera.  To many it may seem odd, but truly it shouldn't be.  It saddens me that the opera has been deemed this high-brow, elitest artform.  Back in the day when they were new music, opera music was the rock and roll music and blockbuster movies all rolled into one of their day.  People of all but the poorest classes of society went to the opera and theater to see and be seen.  People today complain that they have no idea what is going on, which is hogwash.  The stories often are those classic stories of love, betrayal and death (although my favorites of the comic operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Gioachino Rossini).  The grand days of opera have names like Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini, Puccini and Wagner on the title page.  One of the arias that just about everyone is familiar with comes from Verdi's Rigoletto, and the performance that most are familiar with is that of the late, great Luciano Pavarotti.  "La donna e mobile" speaks of the fickleness of women.  Now while I don't agree with the words (the feminist that I am), there are many things in life that are fickle.  Our relationships, our jobs, our friendships, and the list goes on and on.  Now sit back, and enjoy a performance of younger Pavarotti, a Pavarotti in his prime.

 

 

Remember how I said there are lots of things in life that are fickle?  Case in point, the Minnesota Wild.  We as fans have been on a roller coaster all season, never quite sure what we're going to see on a nightly basis.  The start of the season, there were doubts about whether or not Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher made an epic mistake signing both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.  Now that they've found their game and their respective roles on the team, we as fans have come to fully support those signings.  The month of March we were all on an emotional high.  Everything was going right for players, coaches, and fans.  However as we neared the end of the month, we started to see chinks in the armor.  First it was the dangerous hit on Cal Clutterbuck that resulted in a suspension of Taylor Hall.  Then Jason Zucker went down thanks to Corey Perry.  Thankfully, both injuries were short term, and both got back into the game within two or so games.  However, the injury to Zucker, resulted in a return of Pierre-Marc Bouchard.  Personally, I much prefer Zucker's game to Bouchard's, but as long as Bouchard is playing well, they're going to play him.  Because of that, Zucker was returned to Houston.  The past two games have also brought on injuries.  First, we lost Matt Cullen in the St. Louis game.  According to the "Wild Weekly" radio show on KFAN, it appears that Cullen will be out at least two weeks.  That is a painful loss.  Cullen was making a difference on the ice, and so far, no one has stepped up to the plate and play his game.  Last night, we lost Dany Heatley in a nasty scrum after the final whistle.  Heatley slashed Marc-Eduard Vlasic, who retaliated with violence.  First he cross-checked Heatley in the back, than game him two, two-handed chops to the arm.  Heatley left the ice clearly in pain, and holding his arm awkwardly.  Heatley was assessed a 2 minute minor for slashing.  Vlasic however was issued a five minute major for slashing and a ten minute game misconduct.

And we're now about to head into the next chapter of this crazy, short season.  With Cullen out, the Wild had called up Johan Larsson from the Houston Aeros.  During practice, both Larsson and current back-up goaltender, Matt Hackett were pulled from the ice.  With the trade deadline yesterday, they pretty much indicated to everyone that something was in the works.  It was later announced that Larsson, Hackett and the Wild's 1st round pick in this year's Entry Draft and next year's 2nd round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for captain Jason Pominville and their 4th round pick in next year's draft.  While fans were excited about the trade, it then caused pure chaos.  The Wild were now without a backup goaltender, so Darcy Kuemper was immediately put on a plane to San Jose and defensemen Nate Prosser was pressed into duty as a forward to take Larsson's place who was taking Cullen's place.  Thankfully, we have Pominville to play tonight in Los Angeles, but I know I am hesitent to be excited, as we all remember it took awhile for Parise and Suter to settle in this season.  However, with Heatley's injury, I know for myself I'd be happier with the Wild calling up another forward from Houston than having Prosser or another defenseman playing forward.  I'm just hoping that the insertion of Pominville into the lineup doesn't completely cannonball the Wild's suffering confidence levels.

So yes, everything about this team is fickle right now.  We don't know what's going to happen.  We don't know how the team is going to react to adversity anymore.  Earlier in March, we knew they'd find a way to win or at least be competitive.  And for fans like myself, staying up as late as we are for games in San Jose and Los Angeles isn't helping the feeling of fickleness.  However one thing that just about everyone knows about opera, whether they like it or not, is that it's not over until the fat lady sings.  And as I don't hear her singing (or even warming up yet), I'm going to try and stay positive and say there's still a chance.

 

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

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