Three games will be played by the Wild this week - two against Eastern Conference foes, and one against a Nashville team that just clobbered the Jets 7-0 on Saturday night. Minnesota sits tied for second in the Central Division with the Preds at 23 points with a 10-3-3 record. As you can imagine, that makes Saturday's showdown the must-see game of the week, but we'll get to that in a little bit.
This Week's Schedule
Tuesday, November 17th - Minnesota Wild @ Pittsburgh Penguins 6:30 PM CT (NBCSN)
Thursday, November 19th - Minnesota Wild @ Boston Bruins 6:00 PM CT (FS-N)
Saturday, November 21st - Minnesota Wild vs Nashville Predators 7:00 PM CT (FS-N)
Game of the Week
As stated above, Saturday's clash with Nashville is sure to be an entertaining affair. James Neal leads the team with eight goals and 14 points in 16 games, and Pekka Rinne is as solid as ever in goal with nine wins, a 2.11 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and two shutouts. On the back end, Roman Josi has more than made up for the absence of Ryan Suter with four goals, 12 points and a plus-3 rating this season. Wild vs Preds is always an intense match-up, their close proximity in the standings are sure to make it even more so.
Key Player of the Week
Thomas Vanek has stepped up beautifully in the absence of Zach Parise, scoring three goals this week, including two absolutely gorgeous beauties against the Jets early in the week. The Austrian winger is tied for the team lead with seven goals, and is third in team point scoring with 13 points. Vanek has made it known his preferred center to play with on the team is Mikael Granlund, and he has good chemistry with Jason Pominville after spending many years together on the same line in Buffalo. If he's looking to secure a top line role, now is his chance.
Key Opponent of the Week
While Boston has endured a bit of a struggle to start the season, David Krejci has been red hot with eight goals, 18 points, a plus-1 rating, two power play goals, eight power play points and two game-winning goals. Last week, I singled out Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and John Klingberg for Dallas. We all know what happened Saturday night. I'm either just that good with my predictions, or very lucky. I'm hoping I'm lucky and that it runs out this week. That said, look for Krejci to headman the Boston attack.