The Wild had a busy week with teams that they aren’t used to seeing because they play each other maybe twice a season. The first of the two was the New Jersey Devils which I understand why Minnesota never really plays them because they are on the East Coast and travel is a bit difficult. However, the Arizona Coyotes (formerly known as the Phoenix Coyotes, they changed their name last year or the year before due to ownership changes) are a bit closer and also in the same Conference but they rarely visit Minnesota more than once a season.
New Jersey proved to be a difficult opponent for Minnesota even though the Wild were the first on the scoreboard with a beauty of a goal by Jared Spurgeon, somehow the Devils clawed their way back in. If you haven’t seen that goal yet, you have to!!! The rest of the game was a constant battle until the end when New Jersey was able to skate away with the one goal win 4-3.
Two nights later the Wild continued their home-stand against the Coyotes, just like the previous game the Wild were able to take an early lead but couldn’t hold it as Arizona made their way back into it by the end of the second period. Going into the third the stakes were high as it was a tie game and every point is a must as we reach the later half of the season. The more points the better chance of both making the playoffs and securing a good spot if you’re lucky enough to get in.
Nino Niederreiter was the hero of the game with his second power-play goal just halfway through the third period that proved to be the game winner. Niederreiter has been making quite the name for himself with a very good season, he has 14 goals and 31 points. Besides Nino, Jason Pominville who is typically a very underrated player had a great game as well with three assists, the most of everyone in the game.
Eric Staal continues to tear his way through the season adding goals left and right including against Arizona. Staal leads the Wild with 16 goals, 24 assists and 40 points with Mikael Granlund right on his heels with 37 points. If Staal is able to keep up his scoring pace he could hit 80 points because he averages almost a point per game. The Wild’s decision to go after Staal has so far proven to be a very good choice, which I figured it would as I was very happy to see Staal join Minnesota.
Now tomorrow is Hockey Day Minnesota and is a very important day to many Minnesotans and the Wild will be facing one of their tougher opponents, Anaheim. Being the Wild just saw them a week ago, it should still be fresh in their minds how the Ducks play, however the Wild have to be careful and not get big heads just because they beat Anaheim the last time they played.
Every game is different even if it’s the same teams playing, that’s one of my favorite things about hockey, it’s never the same. Minnesota needs to be prepared and get the energy of the crowd behind them on their day to shine in the State of Hockey.The Ducks have been on a winning streak since losing to the Wild, meaning they will be looking to avenge their loss and as I just stated, Minnesota is going to have to be on their toes and not let Anaheim push them around.
I’m going to end this blog here since I’m going to try to crank out another for Hockey Day tomorrow! Thanks for reading!