It’s not fun to be a fan of the Minnesota Wild right now, and they’re about to face one of the better teams in the league tonight.
Wild vs. Golden Knights
When: 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: Xcel Energy Center
TV: BSN, BSWI, ATTSN-RM
Radio: KFAN 100.3
Vegas has kind of snuck up on the NHL because no one really wants to pay attention to them anymore. The glitz and glam have been muted and now they are just scourging around the cap to try and stay under the financial ceiling. But, they are still a good team.
Despite losing four consecutive games before the All-Star break, Vegas is sitting on top of their division and recently walloped the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-1 with four of the five goals coming at even-strength. This team can score in bunches and if Jonas Brodin is still missing from the Wild’s blue line, that just spells trouble.
Are we ready for the takes and the talk and the narratives surrounding this team if they lose tonight? Minnesota’s schedule doesn’t lighten up at all — after tonight they are facing the Devils, Panthers, Avalanche, and Stars, in that order — so this can just sink their season if they don’t get it together.
Might be a little bit too much to ask of them, right now.
Projected Wild lineup
Kirill Kaprizov — Ryan Hartman — Mats Zuccarello
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno
Sam Steel — Frederick Gaudreau — Matt Boldy
Brandon Duhaime — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves
Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Alex Goligoski — Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill — Calen Addison
Marc-Andre Fleury will get the net after Filip Gustavsson go peppered all night in Dallas on Wednesday.
Well, we don’t really know if this is going to be the lineup tonight. Head coach Dean Evason made the slight revision to put Hartman back on the first line on Wednesday against the Stars and you see how that went. Either he will pull the trigger quickly to get some other combinations or at least stick with this formation to get a bigger sample size.
Either way, it is going to be an extremely tough ask to try and not lose this one no matter the lineup. Suffering two demoralizing defeats after resuming your season is just brutal.
Projected Golden Knights lineup
Paul Cotter — Jack Eichel — Jonathan Marchessault
Reilly Smith — William Karlsson — Mike Amadio
Will Carrier — Chandler Stephenson — Phil Kessel
Brett Howden — Nicolas Roy — Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nic Hague — Zach Whitecloud
Logan Thompson is projected to be starting for Vegas, or it will be Adin Hill. Either way, it’s a dude having a decent season.
Whitecloud is playing in his second game since returning from injury, so there is some good news for Knights fans. But other than that, this team is still dealing with the significant absence of Mark Stone from the lineup, which is sort of obvious when you have someone named “Paul Cotter” on the top line.
Despite the injuries and general anonymity of some players, this Knights team is leading the Pacific Division in points and is third in the entire West. They might have figured something out, but there is not a whole lot of impressive on-paper players in this lineup. I guess you could have said the same thing about last year’s Wild team that broke a bunch of records.
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.
Can they score more than one goal?
It might be a basic ask, but the Wild just played an absolutely horrible game offensively in Dallas and now facing a decent blue line with overperforming goaltending — our hopes are pretty low. All we’re wondering is if they can get some juice flowing.
Will we put our head in our hands more than once?
Watching the Wild recently has been not a fun thing to do. At points they are messy, at other times they try and pass the puck into the back of the net, and other times we just don’t want to see what’s going on. I have covered my eyes multiple times watching them play, so let’s just hope that we can have a normal game tonight.