It's officially one of those weeks where it could go either way. Columbus and, even more strangely, Anaheim have both stumbled out of the gate this season, yet either one is more than capable of upsetting a team caught off guard. With Winnipeg, we know what we're getting - those pesky Jets fans that are bound and determined to invade the "X", and a hard-hitting team with exciting, young potential.
This Week's Schedule
Saturday, October 24th - Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks 5:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-WI)
Sunday, October 25th - Minnesota Wild @ Winnipeg Jets 5:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-WI)
Game of the Week
Minnesota will have many hard fought battles with Anaheim and Winnipeg, and there's no question games against the Jets are especially intense and exciting. However, former Wild coach Todd Richards and his Jackets are desperate for a win, and Minnesota has given both Los Angeles and Anaheim their first wins of the season, so Columbus is eager to make it three straight as they seek to cast off the shame of being the last win-less team in the league. Regardless of whether or not the Jackets get that win against the Isles on Tuesday, Thursday night will likely be played like a Game Seven. Buckle up - this one's going to be fun.
Key Player of the Week
It's way too early in the season to completely freak out, but three poor showings in four games played by Devan Dubnyk is definitely cause for concern. In four starts, the hulking netminder has three wins, a 3.01 goals against average and a .887 save percentage - a far cry from his Vezina finalist numbers last season. The thing is, Dubnyk hasn't just been bad statistically. It's not entirely due to the play of the team in front of him. Dubnyk is still making key saves, but there are times - a lot of times - where he just doesn't seem to be tracking the puck well and can't control the simple rebounds. Is there still plenty of time to turn things around? Absolutely. But it has to start now.
Key Opponent of the Week
Former Gopher Blake Wheeler has been on fire for the Jets, scoring three goals, eight points, a negative-1 rating, two penalty minutes, four power play points, a game-winning goal and 19 shots on net in six games with Winnipeg. He currently sits fifth in league scoring but, considering he's never scored more than 69 points in a season, his current pace is highly unlikely to be sustained. That said, this guy's a player and his team looks to be in the playoff mix for many seasons to come.