Game Preview: Minnesota Wild v San Jose Sharks 4/17/21 at 7:00 p.m. CST at the Xcel Energy Center

Minnesota Wild (26-13-3) 55 points 3rd in Honda West

3.00 goals per game (13th in the NHL)

2.67 goals against per game (11th in the NHL)

16.7% power play (25th in the NHL)

83.8% penalties (6th in the NHL)

Top 5 goal scorers::

1. # 97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 16G 19A = 35 points

2. # 22 Kevin Fiala ~ 14G 12A = 26 points

3. # 36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 9G 16A = 25 points

4. # 18 Jordan Greenway ~ 5G 19A = 24 points

5. # 14 Joel Eriksson Ek ~ 13G 7A = 20 points

Top 3 PIMs::

1. # 21 Carson Soucy ~ 45 PIM’s

2. # 18 Jordan Greenway ~ 44 PIM’s

3. # 24 Matt Dumba ~ 38 PIM’s

Top goalkeeper::

1. # 33 Cam Talbot (14-6-3) 2.42GAA .922% SP 2SO

2. # 34 Kaapo Kahkonen (12-7-0) 2.69GAA .909% SP 2SO

Vs.

San Jose Sharks (18-21-4) 40 points 6th in Honda West

2.58 goals per game (25th in the NHL)

3.30 goals against per game (28th in the NHL)

16.4% power play (26th in the NHL)

80.9% penalties (13th in the NHL)

Top 5 goal scorers::

1. # 9 Evander Kane ~ 17G 19A = 36 points

2. # 48 Tomas Hertl ~ 13G 14A = 27 points

3. # 39 Logan Couture ~ 14G 12A = 26 points

4. # 28 Timo Meier ~ 8G 17A = 25 points

5. # 88 Brent Burns ~ 5G 20A = 25 points

Top 3 PIMs::

1. # 9 Evander Kane ~ 40 PIM’s

2. # 71 Viktor Knyzhov ~ 37 PIM’s

3. # 62 Kevin Lebanc ~ 24 PIM’s

Top goalkeeper::

1. # 31 Martin Jones (15-11-2) 3.14GAA .899% SP 1SO

2. # 32 Josef Korenar (0-1-0) 3.07GAA .882% SP

Lines::

San Jose Sharks

E. Kane ~ Couture ~ Labanc

Balcers ~ Hertl ~ Marleau

Sorensen ~ Gambrell ~ Meier

Lots of ~ show of hands ~ Donato

Ferraro ~ burns

Knyzhov ~ Karlsson

Simek ~ Vlasic

Jones

Korenar

Minnesota Wild

Kaprizov ~ Almost ~ Zuccarello

Greenway ~ Eriksson Ek ~ M. Foligno

Fiala ~ Hartman ~ Johansson

Parise ~ Storm ~ Bonino

Suter ~ Spurgeon

Brodin ~ Dumba

Cole ~ Soucy

Talbot

Kahkonen

Later this week is Earth Day, the day we’re supposed to find out how to improve our environment and reduce our footprint. Frankly, this is an easy task. When I buy prepared groceries in the store, I try to get things in metal cans or jars. Yes, plastic can be recycled, but not all plastics. In addition, plastics can only be recycled that often, while metal and glass have virtually no limit to the number of times they can be melted down and made into something else. As stressful as it was, the massive increase in work from home over the past year has been so good for the planet. Yeah folks, the reason we say 99 cents a gallon gasoline is because the demand has come down a lot. Now that people are ignoring restrictions or feeling invincible because they are vaccinated, more people are traveling so gasoline prices are rising again. For myself, I’ve really tried replacing single-use food storage bags with silicone ones and food storage containers with glass ones. One advantage of glass containers is that glass does not stain and these water stains do not end up in the dishwasher like plastic containers do. So yes, reduce, reuse, recycle.

The message of reduce, reuse and recycle is definitely positive. However, there are times that remind me of the classic “lather, rinse, repeat”. When things feel a little monotonous, I think of both the recycling and shampooing mantras. After we just played a game last night to turn around and have a new one tonight, things definitely feel like things are repeating themselves. And when I have another game against San Jose tonight, I definitely feel that way. As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t like games against the Sharks. Often times they don’t go the way you want or need them to. When the Sharks scored the first goal of the game in just over three minutes, I felt like, “Oh, we’re back to it”. Fortunately, however, the wilderness found a way to turn things around. Heck, the positivity that was the second period alone paid off for me. How many times have we complained over the years about the Wilds’ inability to play a decent second period? Last night wasn’t that feeling. But when Evander Kane scored this goal shortly after the middle of the third period, the “here we go again” feeling from the first period returned.

Tonight we need a repeat or recycle from last night. Still, I worry if they can do just that. However, I will say that this team surprises me at times. This would be a good time for such surprises. What helps is that this team finally scores points from the committee. If you look at the stats for Minnesota’s skaters, seventeen is double digits for points. Sure, the numbers look a little less than impressive compared to some teams, but right now it’s something to be appreciated. For far too long we were a team where we had to rely on a player or two to make a difference. This season we’re seeing more posts from almost every corner of the team. Sure, I’d rather have more than three players (Kirill Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala, and Joel Eriksson Ek) with double digits, but as they say, beggars cannot be a choice. At that point, I’ll take what I can get. And the fact that Mats Zuccarello If he has scored three goals in two games, he should soon join the double-digit squad. Bloody hell Victor Rask and Marcus Foligno are also not far from this stat.

The fact that Minnesota kept both Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns Even counting an assistant last night is evidence of a good night for Minnesota. If somehow they manage to do this two nights in a row I would consider it a great accomplishment. I would consider tonight even more successful if they could keep Kane away from the boxing score as well. Well, he’s free to impose stupid penalties so that Minnesota can take advantage of the recently improved power game. I’ll admit I’m still in shock when the wild score is on the power game. I got so used to a two minute disappointment that when they meet I have a strange dream. But as long as the strange dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare, I’m completely satisfied.

One of the concepts of being environmentally conscious is not to waste what you have. The wilderness must find a way not to miss the opportunities it presents. Tonight is a night where they have to use what lies ahead and repeat what they did last night.

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