The Minnesota Wild are headed to Detroit to take on the Redwings. Joe Louis Arena has not been especially kind to the Wild as they are 4-13-1 all time there. However, they head into this game with a 2 game winning streak. Detroit is fairly hot as well coming in with a 4 game winning streak and having won 7 of their last 8.
1. Penalties, Penalties, Penalties. The Wild will need to play a tight game as they will get no favors from the referees in the Joe. After a terrible start taking way too many penalties the Wild have been better as of late. This would not be the game to fall into old habits.
2. Goaltending. Jose Theodore will get the start for the Wild in their first of a back to back. While Niklas Backstrom has been lights out, Theodore has been very good as well. The Wild will really need him to step up in this game if they are to win.
3. Helping the goaltender. While Backstrom saved their bacon against Anaheim, the team needs to not let either goalie become the target at a shooting gallery. They were lazy clearing the zone way too often leading to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances. They need to control the puck better.
4. Havlat-Madden-Nystrom. This unlikely line has been good. As is Todd Richard’s way he will ride the hot line until it stops producing. Nystrom brings energy and speed, Madden is a veteran who will create turnovers and Havlat is a playmaker. Some combos just work. They will, however, have their work cut out for them against Detroit’s top lines.
5. Bruno-Mikko-Miettinen. Yes Mittens got the game winning goal, off his shoulder, but this line has been ice cold. Mikko missed a wide open breakaway against Anaheim. These guys need to get hot to keep the Wild winning.
Bonus: Brent Burns & Marco Scandella. The rookie Scandella was kept while Justin Falk was sent down. Its pretty clear the team didn’t keep him to watch from the press box so he will be playing against Detroit. Scandella set up the game winner against Anaheim and the Wild will be looking for him to have another big game. Burns returns after his 2 game suspension. Hopefully he doesn’t let what happened get in his head and continues where he left off.
Tags: Andrew Brunette Antti Miettinen Brent Burns Detroit Redwings Eric Nystrom John Madden Jose Theodore Justin Falk Marco Scandella Martin Havlat Mikko Koivu Minnesota Wild Niklas Backstrom Todd Richards