The Minnesota Wild are facing one of their former franchise faces yet again, as they are hosting Ryan Suter and his Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
It certainly doesn’t help that that pressure of winning over the dude that apparently is sworn enemies with this team, is the first matchup of the season between the divisional rivals—and it comes at a time where the Wild feel like they’re floundering in the standings, waiting for the drop.
The Wild have just simply not played well and even in their wins, have looked not completely solid or playoff-deserving. The ground has felt soft beneath the entire team’s feet and all you can hope for is some stabilizing streak of games.
Against the Stars, they will be going with some new forward lines.
The Greenway - JEEk - Foligno line will be reunited tonight, plus a new look with Kaprizov and Zuccarello splitting up #mnwild line shall be:— Jessi Pierce (@jessi_pierce) November 18, 2021
Cam Talbot in net #lineheathens
With these new lines, and Talbot in net, they could shake some of the rust that has been setting in lately.
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. See you there.
Can they actually score more goals?
It might be a fairly obvious statement to say that when the Wild score four or more goals, they tend to win the game, but it’s been really evident through the most recent stretch of their season. Since Oct. 28, in the four losses that they have had, three of them have been single-goal performances by the offense (and actually they were all 4-1 losses but that’s probably not a very important point). The other one was the 3-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, which doesn’t even really count since the last two goals were kind of flukey late-game tallies after their opposition sat back with a three-goal lead.
Anyway, it’s been the opposite for the victories as well. The Wild have scored five goals in four of the five wins since that Oct. 28 date, and the other was the 4-2 win over Seattle. So to win against Dallas, they might need to really up the ante when it comes to scoring goals — but also the Stars themselves are having issues scoring goals, so we might be in for a low-scoring affair.
Will the new lines matter?
The Wild and coach Dean Evason unveiled some new (and some old) lines during practice this morning. Kaprizov is back with Victor Rask, and taken away from Mats Zuccarello; there is a wild combination of Fiala, Hartman, and Zuccarello; and the line of Greenway, Eriksson Ek, and Foligno is back. Crazy!
But will this change anything or are we just seeing some experimenting ahead of a weird game? Who knows.
Can the stars score?
It’s honestly been a question asked for a while now — and pretty much the entire season so far — but Kaprizov and Fiala have been scoring in little spurts, trying to keep us calm and not entirely freaking out. But both of them have not scored since the dominant game against the Arizona Coyotes. It’s been only three games, yeah, yeah, yeah whatever, but it’s been difficult to see just the offense completely dried up and especially when it comes to these two.
If they can take advantage of a Stars team that has been massively underperforming in a lot of categories, then maybe there can be a little spark.