Minnesota Wild (11-6-1) 23pts 1st in the Central
3.50 Goals For Per Game (5th in the NHL)
3.22 Goals Against Per Game (25th in the NHL)
17.9% Power Play (20th in the NHL)
79.4% Penalty Kill (19th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 5G 13A = 18pts
2. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 9G 4A = 13pts
3. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 4G 9A = 13pts
4. #14 Joel Eriksson Ek ~ 8G 4A = 12pts
5. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 7G 5A = 12pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 41 PIM’s
2. #21 Brandon Duhaime ~ 35 PIM’s
3. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 15 PIM’s
1. #33 Cam Talbot (9-5-0) 2.95GAA .905%SP
2. #34 Kaapo Kahkonen (2-1-1) 3.30GAA .870%SP
New Jersey Devils (8-5-3) 19pts 5th in the Metropolitan
2.94 Goals For Per Game (16th in the NHL)
2.94 Goals Against Per Game (16th in the NHL)
14.9% Power Play (28th in the NHL)
76.8% Penalty Kill (25th in the NHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #18 Dawson Mercer ~ 6G 6A = 12pts
2. #64 Jesper Bratt ~ 4G 8A = 12pts
3. #37 Pavel Zacha ~ 7G 4A = 11pts
4. #11 Andreas Johnsson ~ 6G 5A = 11pts
5. #7 Dougie Hamilton ~ 5G 5A = 10pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #55 Mason Geertsen ~ 19 PIM’s
2. #28 Damon Severson ~ 16 PIM’s
3. #71 Jonas Siegelthaler ~ 13 PIM’s
1. #29 McKenzie Blackwood (3-1-1) 3.03GAA .921%SP 1SO
2. #45 Jonathan Bernier (4-2-1) 2.48GAA .916%SP
New Jersey Devils
Greenway~Eriksson Ek~M. Foligno
Today is the day that many of us are starting our travels for the Thanksgiving holiday. Whether you’re going across town or across the country, we have to plan our travels. For those of us driving, that means filling the gas tank, packing the suitcase, and other such tasks. For those of you flying, you probably made your plans even earlier, trying to nab good prices on airfare. Tuesday will be a day of going to work, coming home, and maybe do a load of laundry in preparation. I myself had a long day of plans. I wise took some time off from work, because I even have some baking that needs to be completed before we leave. And lucky for us, we were able to leave on Tuesday instead of today, avoiding a lot of the extra traffic. For many of us, this will be the first real family gathering in a year. We didn’t see family last Thanksgiving or Christmas, so we’re really looking forward to seeing family. In fact, we have a new nephew that we have yet to meet, so there is that added bonus.
Many times, a hockey game can be much like a family reunion or holiday gathering. For the players, they may see people they played with or against even when they were young kids. Coaches who were former coaches (and sometimes even former teammates). And of course, there are times you meet up with people you absolutely cannot stand. It may stem back to when they played in juniors. It may have been a questionable hit in a game in the past or recently. You just never know. But when players are tired, it is up to the coaches and front office to know when to give their players a day off. As the Minnesota Wild have played two games, back-to-back against serious contenders, that day was Monday. Not only did they get the day off, they took in the New York Giants vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game before heading out to New Jersey. So, to a degree, they’re taking in the Thanksgiving tradition of football games a few days early, and gathering with their teammates to do something that most consider fun.
New Jersey is no longer the old team, that was hanging on to past glory. Now, they are a youth dominated team, led by a plethora of talented forwards. This includes a pair of first overall picks in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. Along with these two, rookie Dawson Mercer has brough poise and timely scoring. Jesper Bratt is pesky but skilled. The Devils have good speed from all four of their lines. Also having a good start this season in New Jersey is Andreas Johnsson. However, scoring is still an issue for this young club. While that could be classified as a concern, they do show great determination, as the Tampa Bay Lightning found out when the Devils rallied back from a two-goal deficit. This means that Minnesota can’t get a lead and let off the gas, like they sometimes have a habit of doing.
On defense, the Devils’ big off-season move was to bring in Dougie Hamilton. He is one of the league’s best two-way defensement. Hamilton has a big shot and is the Devils’ most dangerous scoring threat from their defensive corps. P.K. Subban has faded in importance, but he and Hamilton provide veteran leadership to a young team. Damon Severson is an underrated defender and the former Kelowna Rocket is a pain to play against.
Between the pipes, the Devils split the duties between veteran Jonathan Bernier and McKenzie Blackwood. They may not be in the running for the Jennings Trophy as the league’s best goaltending tandem, but they have been good enough to keep the Devils in games. Looking at their stats for this season, I would probably feel better with this tandem than our tandem of Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen. Goals against average and save percentage certainly for the New Jersey duo are better. However, one must ask “is it the goaltenders or the skaters in front of them?” There are nights where it simply doesn’t matter how well either Talbot or Kahkonen play, if they don’t get offensive and defensive support from their skaters.
Regardless if you’re traveling or you’re hosting your family gathering, we hope you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Enjoy your post-meal nap. After the almost two years we have had, everyone deserves a nap at some point over the weekend. Take multiple ones even, if you’re so inclined. We all have a lot to be thankful for this year, so enjoy!