Minnesota Wild: Time to Get Serious and Get a Win

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 24: Minnesota Wild Goalie Alex Stalock (32) stops Colorado Avalanche Center Dominic Toninato (47) during a NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche on November 24, 2017 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 24: Minnesota Wild Goalie Alex Stalock (32) stops Colorado Avalanche Center Dominic Toninato (47) during a NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche on November 24, 2017 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Winless so far in the preseason, the Minnesota Wild will be lining up the majority of their opening day roster on Saturday. There will be no excuses for another loss.

Puck Drop will be at 5pm central time at the Xcel Energy Center, as the Colorado Avalanche come to town. Thursday at the X was a major letdown, hopefully this time the Minnesota Wild will have the building rocking.


All of the expected top forwards will be in the lineup tonight, and looking to get on the board for more than one or 2 goals in the game. Lining up most of our opening night roster against the Avs is a bold statement move by coach Boudreau.

The top line of Jason Zucker, Eric Staal, and Mikael Granlund took their time to get up to game speed against St.Louis. Against an incomplete Avs roster, they should have a big day on the scoreboard.

Captain Mikko Koivu and linemate Zach Parise took no time at all showing they are at full speed on Thursday. With them relegated to second line duty, and back with Nino Niederreiter, they should be able to easily replicate their performance against Dallas.

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Charlie Coyle and Joel Eriksson Ek are expected to have Jordan Greenway back in the lineup, and back as the centre on their projected third line. I gave heavy praise to Coyle for his performance against Dallas, I’ll be watching closely to see if he can replicate it.

The 4th line, which still contains one of the most competitive preseason battles, will be one to try to pay attention to. Marcus Foligno and Eric Fehr will get Matt Read on their wing in this one.

Read is battling J.T. Brown, Matt Hendricks, and potentially even Justin Kloos to try to secure that 12th forward spot for opening night. We’ll see how he performs now that his minutes will be harder to come by in a 4th line role.

It looks to me like Bruce Boudreau is trying to shake the stigma of this preseason losing streak. Throwing almost all of his forwards out for a preseason game screams of frustration and perhaps even some desperation to see the trend ended.


The Defense will be only about half complete, as Boudreau has opted to get a look at some of the lineup hopefuls playing alongside the main roster forwards.

Jared Spurgeon will be back in the lineup after a strong preseason debut on Thursday, but his regular season partner Ryan Suter will still be absent.

Ryan Murphy, Matt Bartkowski, and Nate Prosser will expect to be rotating through pairs with each other and Spurgeon through the game. Bartkowski actually got the majority of minutes alongside Spurgeon on Thursday, and could be in for a similar look against Colorado.

Ryan Murphy had a strong performance on the powerplay in his first preseason appearance, despite not scoring. I would think he deserves a look with the top unit on the man advantage in this one. If he can help break the PP slump, perhaps he can find a way to punch his ticket back to an NHL spot.

Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin will stay steady in their pairing. They have looked solid in preseason action thus far, and may take on most minutes tonight to give Spurgeon a break after the heavy ice time last game.

Nick Seeler and Greg Pateryn will get a rest for this one, as they watch all the competition chasing them for a roster spot.


Dubnyk will be watching in street clothes again, while both of the men vying to be his backup this season will be dressed for the game. As of this write-up there is no confirmation who will start, I will update as it is confirmed.

Now, I’ve been wrong about this in every game so far, so perhaps Boudreau just doesn’t like to switch out his goalie mid-game. Still, I think with both Alex Stalock and Andrew Hammond dressed this is the perfect opportunity to split the game and see what each can do against the same Avs roster

Hammond looked good against Winnipeg, Stalock looked better against the Blues. Putting them in with the same players in front of them, in the same game, allows a fair side-by-side analysis of each player’s capabilities.

The coaches are likely already leaning one way or the other, but allowing them a fair shot at this could spark up some debate on the arguments for each. Or, just as easily it could answer the question permanently.

Colorado Avalanche

While the Minnesota Wild are icing what looks a lot like their opening day roster, the Avalanche don’t look to be lining up anyone of intrigue or importance in their roster.

This tells me they either don’t want the Wild to get a feeling out process for stars like MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen, or they don’t want to risk being embarrassed before the season even starts.

The biggest names I can find in their line up are Alexander Kerfoot and Samuel Girard. A second line center, and a second pairing defenseman. Nothing to write home about, that’s for sure.

Philipp Grubauer will be in the net for the Avalanche, he expects to be the 1B goal for Colorado this season. Grubauer had a solid history during his time in Washington, including starting the first 2 playoff games last spring before being replaced by Holtby.

This lineup looks like an absolute mismatch. For the first time this preseason, the Minnesota Wild will face a top flight goaltender but the rest of the Avs lineup is very underwhelming.

After scoring only 4 goals through 3 games so far, and blowing close games in the final minutes, there is absolutely no reason this game should be close in the 3rd period.

The top lines for Minnesota should be rounding into regular season form, knocking off the rust and playing with a sense of urgency for the fans and themselves.

Colorado is lining up the kind of roster that is just begging for the Wild to break this scoring slump they are in and put up a large number of goals.

A loss, or even a low scoring close game, at this point will be cause for concern. Anything other than a big win for the Wild will be largely frustrating and disappointing, and time to start calling on Fenton to do something before this gets out of hand.

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The Minnesota Wild will come to play in this one. With a nearly entirely NHL roster against what amounts to the roster Colorado should be icing in San Antonio of the AHL this season, Colorado should come to the X set for an uphill battle. Minnesota finally gets out of the L column with a big win. We should see a 5-1 Minnesota win, with Hammond allowing the only goal against.