Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Calgary Flames 2/11/2013 @ 8:00PM CST at Scotiabank Saddledome

Minnesota Wild (5-5-1)  11pts  (3rd in the Northwest)

2.09 Goals For per Game (27th in the NHL)

2.64 Goals Against per Game (14th in the NHL)

19th ranked Power Play (17.1%)

8th ranked Penalty Kill (85.4%)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 6G 4A = 10pts

2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 2G 7A = 9pts

3. #77 Tom Gilbert ~ 3G 4A = 7pts

4. #15 Dany Heatley ~ 4G 2A = 6pts

5. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 6A = 6pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #28 Zenon Konopka ~ 48 PIM's

2. #27 Mike Rupp ~ 12 PIM's

3. #4 Clayton Stoner ~ 9 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (4-4-1)  2.53GAA  .909%SP  

2. #37 Josh Harding (1-1-0)  2.92GAA  .885%SP  1SO

 

 

Vs.

 

 

Calgary Flames (3-4-2)  8pts  (4th in the Northwest)

2.78 Goals For per Game (13th in the NHL)

3.44 Goals Against per Game (28th in the NHL)

4th ranked Power Play (25%)

27th ranked Penalty Kill (71.9%)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #40 Alex Tanguay ~ 4G 5A = 9pts

2. #22 Lee Stempniak ~ 5G 2A = 7pts

3. #26 Dennis Wideman ~ 2G 5A = 7pts

4. #24 Jiri Hudler ~ 2G 5A = 7pts

5. #20 Curtis Glencross ~ 4G 2A = 6pts

Top 3 PIM's:

1. #40 Alex Tanguay ~ 10 PIM's

2. #4 Jay Bouwmeester ~ 6 PIM's

3. #19 Blair Jones ~ 6 PIM's

Top Goaltender(s):

1. #34 Miikka Kiprusoff (2-3-2)  3.24GAA  .870%SP

2. #37 Leland Irving (1-1-0)  3.40GAA  .879%SP

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Cal Clutterbuck

 

The Road.  In the minds of Americans, it has a romanticized, idealized allure.  We've written songs about it.  Many of take to the road during the summers, either with friends or family.  In my family, we never took the epic cross country roadtrip to California or Florida.  Instead, we headed to the extreme northwest corner of Minnesota (you might as well be in Manitoba) to see family, which when you're 10 years old, not as exciting as Mickey Mouse.  In the United States, probably the most famous road is US Route 66, the fabled road that connected Chicago with Los Angeles before the advent of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's US Interstate Highway System.  Route 66 still exists to a degree, but it is not the busy road it once was, and what remains is overly romanticized that wish to either connect with the past, whether their own or that of their parents.  The idea of being on the road, became the mantra of the Beat Generation.  It's most famous representation be that of Jack Kerouac's On the Road.

 

However, for sports teams (of all varieties and levels), the road can be a nightmare.  The road is where they can prove their mettle.  It can also be their personal Waterloo.  If a team wishes to go far in the both the regular and post-season, it is imperative for them to prove themselves on the road.  It's not just having to play in a "hostile" environment.  The road takes a physical toll.  You stay in a hotel, often with a roommate.  All of your meals are eaten out.  Flights between cities are often late at night after having played another game, which is especially true in this shortened, compressed season.  You're away from your family.  For the Minnesota Wild this season, so far the road has been more of the nightmarish, Waterloo variety.  They have yet to show the fans that they can handle the pressures of the road, and for the most part have played their worst games away from home.  And to make matters worse, this year's road schedule will not be easy, as they're logging the most road miles of any team in the league.  Not exactly a recipe for success.

Starting tonight, Minnesota is playing a two-game road trip.  Neither tonight's game in Calgary nor tomorrow's in Vancouver are ideal games for a team wishing to gain confidence on the road.  I feel slightly better about playing Calgary, but only slightly.  While they've had their own struggles this season, Calgary isn't an opponent I like to see.  While he's not in his team's top five for scoring, the Flames do have perennial Wild-killer, Jarome Iginla on their roster.  If anyone is going to have a fantastic game, it would be him.  If there's anything working in the Wild's favor, it's that the new lines that Wild head coach Mike Yeo assembled for Saturday's game against Nashville.  I'm not sure if it was the actual composition of the lines or if the team finally felt a sense of urgency, but we shall see.  If the lines are still the same tonight as they were against the Predators, and they are once again successful, then Yeo just might be on to something.

So here's to a Wild team finally taking a stand on the kind of season we want them to have.  Hopefully what we want, is also what they want.

 

 

 

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally take the time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!

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