Game 16: Minnesota Wild at Anaheim Ducks
Time & Location: 8:00 PM CST, Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
How to Watch: Fox Sports - North, SportsNet, PRIME, Fox Sports - West
How to Listen: FM 100.3 KFAN (Twin Cities), Wild Radio Network, AM 830 (Anaheim)
The Wild were victorious Thursday night in Tinsel Town, again by coming from behind to secure the victory. However, there’s not rest for the road weary Wild as they take a shuttle down I-5 to the Honda Center in Anaheim to face the Ducks. It’s been a couple seasons now since Bruce Boudreau coached the Ducks, but you can bet that he still wants to beat the living snot out of the team that fired him.
The Ducks are 5th in the West Division with a 7-7-3 record. The Ducks’ only real saving grace has been the goaltending of John Gibson. His .933 save percentage is buoyed his team enough to be in the thick of things in the West. The Ducks have been an older, veteran-laden group for a number of years, but now some of their younger guys are taking hold of the team.
Namely, Jakob Silfverberg, whose 5 goals this season leads the team. Silfverberg has been a player whom showed a lot of promise a few season ago. He’s standing at 98 career goals in 431 games, but something has changed with him at the beginning of this season. It might just be that 22.73 shooting percentage that is the outlier. Silfverberg is a career nine percent shooter, but this season, he’s finding himself just being the benefactor of some great puck luck. If you look at his stats, he’s getting buried in the Corsi share in game. Let’s just say he’s far away from what Logan Couture does for the Sharks.
That said, Rickard Rakell, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf, and Josh Manson that do very good things for the Ducks. They are carrying the load of controlling play, and the Ducks are finding ways to stay relevant. And while the Ducks can be competitive, some are noticing the major holes on the roster. Their free agent signings of Luke Schenn and Ben Street haven’t been exactly exciting.
Bob Murray will likely have his work cut out for him if the Ducks fail to make the playoffs.
The Running Wild
Minnesota just figures out ways to win. I cannot stress how much I did not see this kind of play coming from this team to catapult themselves into the top few spots in the Central. Even more strange has this team’s ability to play late in games, and in back-to-backs. The Wild are 3-0 in the second games of back-to-backs so far this season. They’ve also put together a 7-3-1 record when surrendering the first goal.
Like a diesel engine in the Winter, Minnesota may need a while to get going, but once they do, they tackle just about anything that comes their way.
Nino Neiderreiter finally got off the Schneid by scoring his first goal of the season in last night’s victory to tie the game at 1. Playing the Ducks should be his style of game. I wouldn’t be surprised if he found a way to score again.
Mikael Granlund had his ten game point streak snapped in San Jose, but he wasted not time finding his way back on to the score sheet with his team-leading 7th goal of the season. Mikko Koivu had three assists against the Kings, and passed the puck over the Granlund with the net empty to seal the victory for the Wild.
Devan Dubnyk got the win last night, but we’ll likely see Alex Stalock in net for the Wild.
It’s possible that Nate Prosser slides in to the game for some fresher legs, but it’s hard to break up that Greg Pateryn - Nick Seeler pairing and their physicality for a game against the Ducks.
Puck drops at 8:00 PM, so while it’s late again, it’s Friday night, and you ain’t got stuff to do! So sit around, grab a beer, and join us for the game thread.