As of this writing, the Minnesota Wild sit third in the Central Division with 11 wins and 25 points in 19 games. Nashville is fourth with as many points, Chicago is next with 24 and a struggling Winnipeg team sits sixth with 22. With no games til Wednesday, Minnesota could quickly find themselves looking up at a few of these teams.
This Week's Schedule
Wednesday, November 25th - Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks 6:00 PM CT (FS-N+, SN1, SNP)
Friday, November 27th - Minnesota Wild vs Winnipeg Jets 3:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-WI)
Saturday, November 28th - Minnesota Wild vs Dallas Stars 7:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-WI)
Game of the Week
Oh boy, where to begin? The once hated Canuckleheads, our heated rivals from the north (Winnipeg) and "the old team" now the best in the West - but which one will provide the most entertainment value?
We could go the Winnipeg route, and it's easy to see why. The Jets are no longer the mess the Thrashers were in Atlanta. They're young, strong, talented and the fan base travels extraordinarily well. At every Wild/Jets clash, the cheers of "Let's go, Wild!" are quickly followed by "Go Jets Go!" It's fun and extremely annoying at the same time.
On the other hand, Minnesota is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss in Dallas back on the 14th. They'll be looking to even the score against Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg and Co. Throw in the fact that there is still a love/hatred for the Stars organization, and they're now leading the entire league with 34 points, and the Wild/Stars showdown could easily be the game of the week for the second time in three weeks.
Key Player of the Week
With Zach Parise still missing time with an injury (though he may return as early as Wednesday), Wild head coach Mike Yeo has turned to Thomas Vanek to step up his offensive game. He certainly has, and has fit in quite well to the left of his preferred center, Mikael Granlund, and longtime Buffalo Sabres linemate Jason Pominville. That said, it's Pominville we need to talk about.
We're 19 games into the season, and Pommer is currently experiencing the worst goal scoring drought of his career. Thus far, the right winger has 10 points (all assists), a plus-2 rating and 40 shots on goal. Pominville plays hard and deserves more than he's currently getting, but the bounces just aren't going his way whatsoever. Fortunately, a two-point night in his last outing should hopefully boost his confidence enough to provide a stepping stone to the level we know he's capable of getting back to. If the Wild are going to come out of this week with more points than they lost, they'll need Pominville to help them do it.
Key Opponent(s) of the Week
Remember Daniel and Henrik Sedin? No? Well, you should. The sensational Swedes put together an awe inspiring nine-point performance against the hated Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night, combining for four goals and five assists to topple the defending champs 6-3. In 21 games played, the brothers have 16 goals, 42 points, a plus-12 rating, six power play goals and 114 shots on goal for the Pacific's third place Canucks. Huh. Who knew 35 was the new 27?