Today's lines: Koivu w/ Niederreiter and Coyle; Granlund w/ Parise and Pominville; Stoll w/ Vanek and Zucker; Haula w/ Porter and Fontaine— Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) February 1, 2016
After winning just three games in the month of January, Minnesota looks to bounce back in February. The next three games for the Wild are all against playoff teams and all away from the Xcel Energy Center. Yes, Minnesota sits in ninth place right now but the (on your left) Colorado Avalanche have played three more games than the Wild. So basic-math tells me the Wild can catch up. They do not need a 26-8-2 stretch, they just need to find their offense. Yesterday's practice lines looked to similar to what we saw toward the break. Many are all calling to breakup the Granlund-Parise-Pommer line but who do you slide with them? Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle have been money, and Thomas Vanek with Mikael Granlund is a bad back checking joke waiting to happen.
Devan Dubnyk goes for the Wild tonight allowing two goals or less in 10 of his last 12 games. To beat a dead horse, Minnesota also doesnt need Dubnyk to play out of his mind either. If he posts around the same numbers he has right now, Minnesota will be fine. Plus, asking a goaltender to sing to a sub 2 GAA is asking quite a lot.
The New York Islanders are having a nice season sitting in third place in Metropolitan Division. Minnesota natives Brock Nelson and Kyle Okoposo are a big reason why New York is in the top ten for goals scored this season. Nelson leads the team with 19 goals and Okposo is first in points with 35. And, oh yeah, some dude named John Tavares is having a(nother) a phenomenal season. Former "fan favorite" Cal Clutterbuck has more goals (10) than Nino Niederreiter (8) this season too. Yes I know, goals are not everything but the Minnesota connections on this Islanders squad are too good to pass up.
New York will start Jean-Francois Berube in net tonight who has just ONE start this season and it came all the way back in October. That says a lot on what New York thinks of Minnesota right now. Jaroslav Halak has been money for them all season and hasn't played in over a week either.
Dubnyk is 2-2-0 with a 2.22 GAA and a .935 SV% in four career starts against New York.
Minnesota has outscored New York, 8-1, in the last two road contests.
New York has killed 72-of-77 penalties over their last 25 games.
Brock Nelson has six points (5G, 1A) in his last five games