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Minnesota Wild @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Game preview

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Wild take on the best team in the East tonight at 6:00pm CST

Talking bout my BEST FRIEND
Talking bout my BEST FRIEND
Rick Stewart

Welcome to game day Wilderness. Here's your quick rundown of what's been going on with the Wild and their opponents for tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto is leading the Eastern Conference at the moment with a record of 5-1 and a total of 10 points. Minnesota meanwhile is sitting at 3rd in the Central division and 7th in the Western Conference. Not that it means much, since teams from the East seem to be struggling to win against any teams from the West that isn't named Edmonton.

Speaking of Edmonton all is not lost Wild fans. The Maple Leafs won their last game 6-5 against Edmonton. That's right, the Leafs almost lost their last game to a team who has managed to give up 4 goals or more in every single game they've played this year.

Toronto is also ranked 23rd in the league when it comes to face-offs, while the Wild are tied for 1st with Pittsburg. While this stat in and of itself doesn't necessarily mean the game will great for the guys in white, when combined with some of the stats we'll talk about in a second, they all point to good things.

The one stat to pay attention to here is the Shots Allowed stat. The Wild are giving up a league fewest 21.7 shots/average a game. The Leafs meanwhile, are giving up an average of 34.2 shots. Yes, it's a small sample size, but that's all we have to go on at the moment kids.

The Wild are well on their way to showing that Mike Yeo's comments over the summer about turning the Wild into a puck possession team was not just coach speak, and he's implemented a number of changes to make that dream a reality.

The Wild also feature the 2nd best corsi for percentage in the league. Just a refresher, corsi is what advanced or fancy stat followers use to determine puck possession by tracking shots towards the opponents net. Corsi for basically measures the percentage of the time that a team has possession of the puck (If this isn't correct I'm sure someone will stop by and correct it for me).

It sounds like James Reimer will start in net for the Leafs, and no word on whether Josh Harding or Darcy Kuemper will be in net for the Wild. I know everyone has their opinions, but at this point Mike Yeo has given us no reason to doubt him yet.

The Maple Leafs will be a tough test. But the Wild are rocking some great numbers and a win tonight is certainly not out of the question, and honestly there's a good chance the Wild walk out of the Air Canada Centre with 2 points tonight.

Game time is 6pm CST, and the game thread will be around 5pm so everyone can get their pre-game on.

EDIT- Russo has confirmed that Kuemper will be starting, Keith Ballard will be out (not feeling 100%) and Nate Prosser will make his season debut.