Weekly Wild Whangdoodle – Offseason, Volume I

Well, yesterday was the first day of summer, and the Twins are playing good ball lately, so, naturally, I thought the time was just right to re-introduce the Whangdoodle.

Follow along, and I’ll ramble on about the new coach and the upcoming draft.

MIKE YEO IS YOUR NEW WILD HEAD COACH

I freely admit that almost all of my Wild news comes through Russo, so if you’ve read his thoughts on the hiring of Houston Aeros head coach Mike Yeo as the third head coach in Minnesota Wild franchise history, there may be some overlap here.  One thing that Russo really captured was my initial reaction to the announcement.  “Wow.  Really?” I thought.  I don’t follow the Aeros much, so I don’t have a good sense of what his strategic inclinations are (from all reports, he prefers a defensive style), but he took the Wild’s minor league team, which has never been particularly well-regarded talent-wise, and took them all the way to the Calder Cup finals.

So I read Russo’s breakdown, in which he points out how GM Chuck Fletcher has surprised people by choosing a coach that is, at least superficially, to his previous hire that lasted two years and garnered zero playoff seasons.  Both Richards and Yeo, at the time of their hiring, were young guys with no NHL head coaching experience.  They both came out of the Pittsburgh minor league system.  They are not the same coach, everyone points out that they have different styles, but those surface similarities are going to make for some easy pickings for the “Fletcher’s an idiot” crowd.

Then I read Wyshynski’s column on Puck Daddy, and looked at some of the other takes from various local columnists.  And I found myself liking the decision.  The Wild should get younger this year and next.  They probably aren’t a serious playoff contender next year (although it could happen).  I am not sure that any coaching hire, no matter their pedigree, would convince me that their prospects in the 2011-12 season just got better.  So, the Wild go with a guy who had success within their organization, with the players that will be (should be) a part of the team over the next couple of years.

Maybe it’s the thrill of the unknown, watching Ken Hitchcock grind out a 8th-10th place finish with a team that just isn’t talented enough to do better doesn’t excite me.  I think that’s because we know what Hitchcock (or MacTavish, or whoever) can do, and if that’s what they produce, well, there it is, that’s the ceiling for both the team and the coach.  I’m sure there are those who disagree that the same finish under Yeo will be more satisfying, more promising somehow.  I’m not even sure that I believe it at this point.  But that’s the closest I can come to expressing my feelings at this point, so it’ll have to do.

NHL DRAFT AT THE EXCEL CENTER

The draft is Friday, and I can’t tell you anything about any of the players that the Wild may pick.  For that there are lots and lots of mock drafts out there.

Almost all of them that I’ve seen have the Wild taking a wing or a center.  Hard to argue with that.  The Wild have a pretty deep blue line right now, with lots of younger guys who are ready to step in.  They have been short-handed at center forever (maybe it just seems that way), and they could always use more scoring everywhere in their organization.

Last year, the Wild took Mikael Granlund, the first player from Europe off the board, with the ninth pick.  Granlund has really impressed in the Finnish Elite League, playing against much older competition, and helping his team to the Elite League title last season, while averaging a point per game.  He probably won’t be in a Wild sweater this coming season, but whenever he comes over, it’s going to be really exciting.

The Wild pick tenth this year, and it’s going to be impossible for them to find anyone who will be able to contribute in the NHL immediately.  However, if they can find someone to complement Granlund (and 2nd round pick Jason Zucker, who won the WCHA Rookie of the Year playing for Denver) upon his arrival in a season or two, that would go a long way toward increasing optimism about this franchise.

The Wild do not have a second round pick (having traded it for Chuck Kobasew), but will have one pick in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th rounds.

Wild Six or Seven Pack, Vol. 11

Record Home Away Diff. EV-Time EVGF EVGA GF/60 GA/60
Gm. 1-7 1-6-0 1-0-0 0-6-0 –10 310:29 7 21 1.35 4.04
Gm. 8-14 4-3-0 3-1-0 1-2-0 –1 349:12 10 11 1.72 1.89
Gm. 15-20 2-2-2 1-1-0 1-1-2 0 288:02 13 7 2.71 1.46
Gm. 21-26 4-1-1 3-1-1 1-0-0 2 297:00 12 12 2.42 2.42
Gm. 27-33 5-2-0 2-0-0 3-2-0 2 352:29 14 10 2.38 1.70
Gm. 34-40 4-3-0 2-1-0 2-2-0 0 339:03 14 16 2.55 2.91
Gm. 41-47 4-3-0 4-2-0 0-1-0 1 347:25 20 16 3.45 2.76
Gm. 48-54 3-3-1 2-0-1 1-3-0 2 350:10 15 15 2.57 2.57
Gm. 55-61 3-4-0 3-2-0 0-2-0 0 332:23 11 13 1.99 2.35
Gm. 62-68 3-2-2 1-1-1 2-1-1 1 339:03 13 10 2.30 1.77
Gm. 69-75 3-4-0 2-1-0 1-3-0 -9 345:21 13 20 2.26 3.47
TOTAL 36-33-6 24-10-3 12-23-3 –12 3650:37 142 151 2.33 2.48

A couple blowout losses on the road (0-5 to Nashville and 2-6 to Detroit) make for some ugly differential numbers, which is kind of sad to see after the season long fight to get almost back to even.

PP Time PPGF SHGA PPGF/60 SHGA/60
Games 1-7 61:36 8 1 7.79 0.97
Games 8-14 39:09 5 2 7.66 3.07
Games 15-20 43:18 3 2 4.16 2.77
Games 21-26 39:44 5 0 7.55 0.00
Games 27-33 35:41 3 0 5.04 0.00
Games 34-40 44:43 4 1 5.37 1.34
Games 41-47 39:29 3 1 4.56 1.52
Games 48-54 43:45 5 1 6.86 1.37
Games 55-61 42:54 9 0 12.59 0.00
Games 62-68 27:04 4 1 8.87 2.22
Games 69-75 30:41 4 1 7.82 1.95
TOTAL 448:04 53 10 7.10 1.34
SH Time SHGF PPGA SHGF/60 PPGA/60
Games 1-7 51:03 0 3 0.00 3.53
Games 8-14 38:34 0 3 0.00 4.67
Games 15-20 38:40 1 8 1.55 12.41
Games 21-26 34:44 0 3 0.00 5.18
Games 27-33 39:41 0 5 0.00 7.56
Games 34-40 36:14 1 2 1.56 3.31
Games 41-47 38:04 1 6 1.58 9.46
Games 48-54 31:07 0 2 0.00 3.86
Games 55-61 44:25 0 7 0.00 9.46
Games 62-68 53:53 0 5 0.00 5.57
Games 69-75 45:35 0 5 0.00 6.58
TOTAL 452:00 3 49 0.40 6.50

They are pretty much personifying “stumbling to the finish line” at this point.

Wild Six or Seven Pack, Vol. 10

Record Home Away Goal Diff. EV-Time EVGF EVGA EVGF/60 EVGA/60
Gm. 1-7 1-6-0 1-0-0 0-6-0 –10 310:29 7 21 1.35 4.04
Gm. 8-14 4-3-0 3-1-0 1-2-0 –1 349:12 10 11 1.72 1.89
Gm. 15-20 2-2-2 1-1-0 1-1-2 0 288:02 13 7 2.71 1.46
Gm. 21-26 4-1-1 3-1-1 1-0-0 2 297:00 12 12 2.42 2.42
Gm. 27-33 5-2-0 2-0-0 3-2-0 2 352:29 14 10 2.38 1.70
Gm. 34-40 4-3-0 2-1-0 2-2-0 0 339:03 14 16 2.55 2.91
Gm. 41-47 4-3-0 4-2-0 0-1-0 1 347:25 20 16 3.45 2.76
Gm. 48-54 3-3-1 2-0-1 1-3-0 2 350:10 15 15 2.57 2.57
Gm. 55-61 3-4-0 3-2-0 0-2-0 0 332:23 11 13 1.99 2.35
Gm. 62-68 3-2-2 1-1-1 2-1-1 1 339:03 13 10 2.30 1.77
TOTAL 33-29-6 22-9-3 11-20-3 –3 3305:16 129 131 2.34 2.38

Hey! Two road wins.  Look at that.  Too little too late, but I appreciate the effort.

PP Time PPGF SHGA PPGF/60 SHGA/60
Games 1-7 61:36 8 1 7.79 0.97
Games 8-14 39:09 5 2 7.66 3.07
Games 15-20 43:18 3 2 4.16 2.77
Games 21-26 39:44 5 0 7.55 0.00
Games 27-33 35:41 3 0 5.04 0.00
Games 34-40 44:43 4 1 5.37 1.34
Games 41-47 39:29 3 1 4.56 1.52
Games 48-54 43:45 5 1 6.86 1.37
Games 55-61 42:54 9 0 12.59 0.00
Games 62-68 27:04 4 1 8.87 2.22
TOTAL 417:23 49 9 7.04 1.29
SH Time SHGF PPGA SHGF/60 PPGA/60
Games 1-7 51:03 0 3 0.00 3.53
Games 8-14 38:34 0 3 0.00 4.67
Games 15-20 38:40 1 8 1.55 12.41
Games 21-26 34:44 0 3 0.00 5.18
Games 27-33 39:41 0 5 0.00 7.56
Games 34-40 36:14 1 2 1.56 3.31
Games 41-47 38:04 1 6 1.58 9.46
Games 48-54 31:07 0 2 0.00 3.86
Games 55-61 44:25 0 7 0.00 9.46
Games 55-61 53:53 0 5 0.00 5.57
TOTAL 406:25 3 44 0.44 6.50

The Wild came out of the break with a mean streak apparently.  That’s a lot of short-handed time.  Hopefully they can cut down on that in the last games.

Wild Six or Seven Pack – Vol. 9

Record Home Away Goal Diff. EV-Time EVGF EVGA EVGF/60 EVGA/60
Gm. 1-7 1-6-0 1-0-0 0-6-0 –10 310:29 7 21 1.35 4.04
Gm. 8-14 4-3-0 3-1-0 1-2-0 –1 349:12 10 11 1.72 1.89
Gm. 15-20 2-2-2 1-1-0 1-1-2 0 288:02 13 7 2.71 1.46
Gm. 21-26 4-1-1 3-1-1 1-0-0 2 297:00 12 12 2.42 2.42
Gm. 27-33 5-2-0 2-0-0 3-2-0 2 352:29 14 10 2.38 1.70
Gm. 34-40 4-3-0 2-1-0 2-2-0 0 339:03 14 16 2.55 2.91
Gm. 41-47 4-3-0 4-2-0 0-1-0 1 347:25 20 16 3.45 2.76
Gm. 48-54 3-3-1 2-0-1 1-3-0 2 350:10 15 15 2.57 2.57
Gm. 55-61 3-4-0 3-2-0 0-2-0 0 332:23 11 13 1.99 2.35
TOTAL 30-27-4 21-8-2 9-19-2 –4 2966:13 116 121 2.35 2.45

This is a .500 team in every way.  Just go down the goal differential column.  I remember the Twins being .500 all season, then ripping off a stellar September to eke into the playoffs.  Maybe Cam Barker will be the Wild’s Orlando Cabrera.

PP Time PPGF SHGA PPGF/60 SHGA/60
Games 1-7 61:36 8 1 7.79 0.97
Games 8-14 39:09 5 2 7.66 3.07
Games 15-20 43:18 3 2 4.16 2.77
Games 21-26 39:44 5 0 7.55 0.00
Games 27-33 35:41 3 0 5.04 0.00
Games 34-40 44:43 4 1 5.37 1.34
Games 41-47 39:29 3 1 4.56 1.52
Games 48-54 43:45 5 1 6.86 1.37
Games 55-61 42:54 9 0 12.59 0.00
TOTAL 390:19 45 8 6.92 1.23
SH Time SHGF PPGA SHGF/60 PPGA/60
Games 1-7 51:03 0 3 0.00 3.53
Games 8-14 38:34 0 3 0.00 4.67
Games 15-20 38:40 1 8 1.55 12.41
Games 21-26 34:44 0 3 0.00 5.18
Games 27-33 39:41 0 5 0.00 7.56
Games 34-40 36:14 1 2 1.56 3.31
Games 41-47 38:04 1 6 1.58 9.46
Games 48-54 31:07 0 2 0.00 3.86
Games 55-61 44:25 0 7 0.00 9.46
TOTAL 352:32 3 39 0.51 6.64

Wild Six or Seven Pack – Vol. 8

Record Home Away Goal Diff. EV-Time EVGF EVGA EVGF/60 EVGA/60
Gm. 1-7 1-6-0 1-0-0 0-6-0 –10 310:29 7 21 1.35 4.04
Gm. 8-14 4-3-0 3-1-0 1-2-0 –1 349:12 10 11 1.72 1.89
Gm. 15-20 2-2-2 1-1-0 1-1-2 0 288:02 13 7 2.71 1.46
Gm. 21-26 4-1-1 3-1-1 1-0-0 2 297:00 12 12 2.42 2.42
Gm. 27-33 5-2-0 2-0-0 3-2-0 2 352:29 14 10 2.38 1.70
Gm. 34-40 4-3-0 2-1-0 2-2-0 0 339:03 14 16 2.55 2.91
Gm. 41-47 4-3-0 4-2-0 0-1-0 1 347:25 20 16 3.45 2.76
Gm. 48-54 3-3-1 2-0-1 1-3-0 2 350:10 15 15 2.57 2.57
TOTAL 27-23-4 18-6-2 9-17-2 –4 2633:50 105 108 2.39 2.46

Wild still three points out of a playoff spot.  They’re going to have to make a move at some point.  And that will probably involve winning a game or two on the road.  8 wins in 27 games is terrible.

PP Time PPGF SHGA PPGF/60 SHGA/60
Games 1-7 61:36 8 1 7.79 0.97
Games 8-14 39:09 5 2 7.66 3.07
Games 15-20 43:18 3 2 4.16 2.77
Games 21-26 39:44 5 0 7.55 0.00
Games 27-33 35:41 3 0 5.04 0.00
Games 34-40 44:43 4 1 5.37 1.34
Games 41-47 39:29 3 1 4.56 1.52
Games 48-54 43:45 5 1 6.86 1.37
TOTAL 347:25 36 8 6.22 1.38
SH Time SHGF PPGA SHGF/60 PPGA/60
Games 1-7 51:03 0 3 0.00 3.53
Games 8-14 38:34 0 3 0.00 4.67
Games 15-20 38:40 1 8 1.55 12.41
Games 21-26 34:44 0 3 0.00 5.18
Games 27-33 39:41 0 5 0.00 7.56
Games 34-40 36:14 1 2 1.56 3.31
Games 41-47 38:04 1 6 1.58 9.46
Games 48-54 31:07 0 2 0.00 3.86
TOTAL 308:07 3 32 0.58 6.23

Wild Six or Seven Pack – Vol. 7

Record Home Away Goal Diff. EV-Time EVGF EVGA EVGF/60 EVGA/60
Gm. 1-7 1-6-0 1-0-0 0-6-0 –10 310:29 7 21 1.35 4.04
Gm. 8-14 4-3-0 3-1-0 1-2-0 –1 349:12 10 11 1.72 1.89
Gm. 15-20 2-2-2 1-1-0 1-1-2 0 288:02 13 7 2.71 1.46
Gm. 21-26 4-1-1 3-1-1 1-0-0 2 297:00 12 12 2.42 2.42
Gm. 27-33 5-2-0 2-0-0 3-2-0 2 352:29 14 10 2.38 1.70
Gm. 34-40 4-3-0 2-1-0 2-2-0 0 339:03 14 16 2.55 2.91
Gm. 41-47 4-3-0 4-2-0 0-1-0 1 347:25 20 16 3.45 2.76
TOTAL 24-20-3 16-6-1 8-14-2 –6 2283:40 90 93 2.36 2.44

After game 41, the Wild were exactly halfway through the season with a record of 20-18-3 (43 points) in 11th place in the conference.  Curious as to how teams in a similar position have fared in the second half in the past, I created the graph below which plots second half points as a function of first half points (this represents the Western Conference in the four seasons post-lockout – average of 46 points in both the first and second half).

What can we learn from this?  Teams with 50 points in the first half are almost guaranteed to get 95 points (only 2 of 19 teams failed to do so), so we can pretty much put these teams in the playoffs based on their first half performance.

  • San Jose (59 pts)
  • Chicago (59 pts)
  • Calgary (53 pts)
  • Phoenix (53 pts)
  • Colorado (52 pts)
  • Nashville (51 pts)

The teams with 40-49 points in the first half are almost impossible to predict (this season that applies to – Vancouver, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas, Minnesota, and St. Louis).  10 of 30 teams ended up with less than 83 points, 9 of the 30 ended up with more than 95 points.  If those trends hold, it would seem at least 2 of those 6 teams mentioned above will surpass 95 points.  That means it’s going to take 95 points or more to reach the post-season.  The Wild need to pick up 52 points in the second half to reach 95, that’s 1.27 points per game (leaving out their 0-5 road trip the Wild have been earning 1.19 points per game).  An interesting point is that the team in 11th place after 41 games has made the playoffs in the last two seasons (Dallas last year and Anaheim two years ago) so the Wild are practically guaranteed a spot.

PP Time PPGF SHGA PPGF/60 SHGA/60
Games 1-7 61:36 8 1 7.79 0.97
Games 8-14 39:09 5 2 7.66 3.07
Games 15-20 43:18 3 2 4.16 2.77
Games 21-26 39:44 5 0 7.55 0.00
Games 27-33 35:41 3 0 5.04 0.00
Games 34-40 44:43 4 1 5.37 1.34
Games 41-47 39:29 3 1 4.56 1.52
TOTAL 303:40 31 7 6.13 1.38
SH Time SHGF PPGA SHGF/60 PPGA/60
Games 1-7 51:03 0 3 0.00 3.53
Games 8-14 38:34 0 3 0.00 4.67
Games 15-20 38:40 1 8 1.55 12.41
Games 21-26 34:44 0 3 0.00 5.18
Games 27-33 39:41 0 5 0.00 7.56
Games 34-40 36:14 1 2 1.56 3.31
Games 41-47 38:04 1 6 1.58 9.46
TOTAL 277:00 3 30 0.65 6.50

Wild Six (or so) Pack – Vol. 6

Record Home Away Goal Diff. EV-Time EVGF EVGA EVGF/60 EVGA/60
Games 1-7 1-6-0 1-0-0 0-6-0 –10 310:29 7 21 1.35 4.04
Games 8-14 4-3-0 3-1-0 1-2-0 –1 349:12 10 11 1.72 1.89
Games 15-20 2-2-2 1-1-0 1-1-2 0 288:02 13 7 2.71 1.46
Games 21-26 4-1-1 3-1-1 1-0-0 2 297:00 12 12 2.42 2.42
Games 27-33 5-2-0 2-0-0 3-2-0 2 352:29 14 10 2.38 1.70
Games 34-40 4-3-0 2-1-0 2-2-0 0 339:03 14 16 2.55 2.91
TOTAL 20-17-3 12-4-1 8-13-2 –7 1936:15 70 77 2.17 2.39

Since October 17th (when the Wild completed their first extended road trip of the season with a 1-6 record), the teams with the best record in the Western Conference are:

  • San Jose (46 pts, 31 games)
  • Chicago (45 pts, 31 games)
  • Nashville (44 pts, 33 games)
  • Phoenix (43 pts, 34 games)
  • Minnesota (41 pts, 33 games)
PP Time PPGF SHGA PPGF/60 SHGA/60
Games 1-7 61:36 8 1 7.79 0.97
Games 8-14 39:09 5 2 7.66 3.07
Games 15-20 43:18 3 2 4.16 2.77
Games 21-26 39:44 5 0 7.55 0.00
Games 27-33 35:41 3 0 5.04 0.00
Games 34-40 44:43 4 1 5.37 1.34
TOTAL 264:11 28 6 6.36 1.36
SH Time SHGF PPGA SHGF/60 PPGA/60
Games 1-7 51:03 0 3 0.00 3.53
Games 8-14 38:34 0 3 0.00 4.67
Games 15-20 38:40 1 8 1.55 12.41
Games 21-26 34:44 0 3 0.00 5.18
Games 27-33 39:41 0 5 0.00 7.56
Games 34-40 36:14 1 2 1.56 3.31
TOTAL 238:56 2 24 0.50 6.03

Other than one terrible game in Vancouver, the penalty kill has been lights out for the last 20 games.

Game 35 – Minnesota Wild @ Ottawa Senators

MINNESOTA v. OTTAWA

Crazy busy weekend, trying to get holidays planned and shopped for. What’s new with the Wild?

Oh. Their equipment truck caught fire and a lot of the team (including both goalies) lost all their stuff.

Yikes.

I have no idea how they are going to be able to play tonight. Hopefully Ottawa takes it easy on them.

Bold prediction –Wild give up a bunch of goals (let’s say 4), but take this one to overtime.

Wild Six (or so) Pack – Vol. 5

ANAHEIM 4 – MINNESOTA 5 (SO)
MINNESOTA 5 – NASHVILLE 3

MINNESOTA 0 – PHOENIX 2
MINNESOTA 1 – COLORADO 0
MINNESOTA 2 – CALGARY 1 (OT)

MINNESOTA 3 – VANCOUVER 4
COLUMBUS 1 – MINNESOTA 2

Record Home Away Goal Diff. EV-Time EVGF EVGA EVGF/60 EVGA/60
Games 1-7 1-6-0 1-0-0 0-6-0 –10 310:29 7 21 1.35 4.04
Games 8-14 4-3-0 3-1-0 1-2-0 –1 349:12 10 11 1.72 1.89
Games 15-20 2-2-2 1-1-0 1-1-2 0 288:02 13 7 2.71 1.46
Games 21-26 4-1-1 3-1-1 1-0-0 2 297:00 12 12 2.42 2.42
Games 27-33 5-2-0 2-0-0 3-2-0 2 352:29 14 10 2.38 1.70
TOTAL 16-14-3 10-3-1 6-11-2 –7 1597:12 56 61 2.10 2.29

One more section and we’ll be halfway through the season.  If the next section goes as well as the last two, the Wild may find themselves on the right side of the playoff line (currently 4 points back of 8th-place Detroit).  The amazing thing is that the Wild have managed to go 15-8-3 with only a +3 goal differential.  That’s a lot of wins in close games for Minnesota.  If they can keep that up, it will serve them well in the second half, when everyone tightens up their game a bit, looking for those extra points to keep them close in the playoff race.

PP Time PPGF SHGA PPGF/60 SHGA/60
Games 1-7 61:36 8 1 7.79 0.97
Games 8-14 39:09 5 2 7.66 3.07
Games 15-20 43:18 3 2 4.16 2.77
Games 21-26 39:44 5 0 7.55 0.00
Games 27-33 35:41 3 0 5.04 0.00
TOTAL 219:28 24 5 6.56 1.37
SH Time SHGF PPGA SHGF/60 PPGA/60
Games 1-7 51:03 0 3 0.00 3.53
Games 8-14 38:34 0 3 0.00 4.67
Games 15-20 38:40 1 8 1.55 12.41
Games 21-26 34:44 0 3 0.00 5.18
Games 27-33 39:41 0 5 0.00 7.56
TOTAL 202:42 1 22 0.30 6.51

The penalty looks kind of bad for these seven games due to the Sedin twins having their way with Josh Harding.  At this point I’m more worried about the power play.  It hasn’t really been consistently effective in almost 20 games.  Combine those two and the power play and penalty kill are almost even over the course of the season.

Game 33 – Minnesota Wild v. Columbus Blue Jackets

MINNESOTA v. COLUMBUS

I commented on Friday that I really hate Western Canada road trips.  Then the Wild went out and played two of their best games so far (40+ shots in both Calgary and Vancouver) and if not for goaltending breaking against them both times (Kiprusoff and Luongo were good, Harding wasn’t), they would have collected 4 points in those games.

Go back and watch the Calgary game – that’s going to be a tough one to beat for game of the year.

Oh yeah, also there’s a game tonight.  The Blue Jackets come to town struggling (2-7-4 in the last 13) and they’re coming off a loss to the Predators last night.  Things are set up pretty well for the Wild.

Bold Prediction – Blue Jackets score first.

(By the way I hope everyone noticed that I got the prediction right on Saturday – directly resulting in a Wild loss.  Never again.)

Game 32 – Minnesota Wild @ Vancouver Canucks

MINNESOTA @ VANCOUVER

Last time the Wild traveled to Vancouver they were finishing off a 5-game road trip on which they had already gone 0-4.

This time they are finishing off a 5-game road trip on which they have already gone 3-1 (including a win in Calgary where they had won one of their last 17).  I’m much less fed up this time around.

Bold prediction – The last time Eric Belanger didn’t win at least half of his faceoffs in a game was the Wild’s last visit to Vancouver (a streak of 24 games).  He avenges that tonight, winning 60% of his draws.

Game 31 – Minnesota Wild @ Calgary Flames

MINNESOTA @ CALGARY

Wild in Calgary?  I’m going to hide until this is over.

The Wild come into the game having scored a grand total of one goal in the last two games.  Calgary has been a house of horrors for this team, and the Flames have been the best team in the Northwest so far this season.  The mildly good news is that Calgary hasn’t been dominant at home (8-5 thus far this season – even with Edmonton for worst in the division), so perhaps a glimmer of light there.

Yes, it’s Todd Richards team’s first trip to Calgary, but Kiprussoff and Iginla are still there, which will probably end up haunting the Wild yet again.  I hate Western Canada road trips.

Bold prediction – Iginla scores tonight.