Minnesota Wild Face Biggest Game Of The Season


Good afternoon, Wild fans, today is a new day and a new test for the Minnesota Wild and their hopes of returning to the playoffs.

Monday was not a good day for the Wild. They were outplayed in Vancouver, and every team they would have liked to see lose, won. Fortunately for the Wild, the San Jose Sharks are beginning their season-ending breakdown early this year as they have gone 2-5-2 in their last 9 games leaving the door open for the Wild, Los Angeles Kings, and Dallas Stars; don’t count out the Colorado Avalanche yet either.

The Wild will need to prove, not only to themselves, but to the rest of the league that they are ready to make another surge that saw them win six-in-a-row. The last few games have not been easy for the Wild. The Canucks didn’t allow the Wild to play the way the wanted to and caused the Wild to turn the puck over on many occasions. They were outshot for the fourth game in a row and allowed three goals in consecutive games for the first time since January 19th and January 20th.

Tonight is not only the most important game for the Wild this season, tonight will likely be the NHL debut for Michael Keranen who has been called up to the big leagues. Keranen is someone who can provide a lot of speed and skill to the wing position. If he plays, he will likely fill in for Thomas Vanek who is questionable for tonight’s game.

Watch Mike Yeo’s interview after yesterday’s practice:

Keranen could provide a spark for the Wild who could definitely use his energy to jump start their offensive which has been a bit shaky as of late. I wrote a piece during the offseason of dark horses I thought could make an impact for the Wild, Keranen was one of them. I am excited to see what he brings to the team should he make his debut tonight.

The Flames are continuing to be one of the better NHL teams as of late losing only 4 times since January 10th; the Wild beat the Flames 1-0 on January 29th. The Flames have allowed at least 29 shots on goal in their last 6 games, which should be the focal point for the Wild as they prepare for puckdrop tonight at 8:30 CST.

The Wild will be participating in morning skate here in a little bit, I will tweet out projected lineups and other news leading up to game time.

Here are my three bold predictions for tonight:

1. Back to Parise: Zach Parise has been quiet these last couple games despite scoring an empty netter against the Hurricanes two games ago. Look for Zach to get his swagger back and create havoc all over the ice. I like Parise for a goal and an assist tonight.

2. The Fonz: One of the most underrated Wild forwards, Justin Fontaine skates as hard as anyone in the lineup and seems to create turnovers on every shift. Fontaine could easily have double the points he currently has (4 goals, 11 assists), but he at times just can’t seem to catch a break. Look for a big game out of “Fonzie” tonight, a big goal for him and a lot of great play from him tonight.

3. Marco-Goalo: When Marco Scandella tees up a slap shot, I immediately get out of my seat expecting something big to happen. Even if doesn’t score a goal, his shots leave juicy rebounds and, almost every time, a big scoring chance. I like Scandella for a goal tonight as well.

Wild 3, Flames 1