Prev game : @Avalanche, Saturday, February 28th
Next game : @Capitals, Thursday, March 5th
Hot : Erik Haula - 4P (2G, 2A) in last 2 GP
Cold : Ryan Suter - 0P in last 7 GP
The Wild are in a big fight for a playoff spot right now. They're currently holding on to the last wild card position in the West (despite being 7th in the conference), 3 points up on Los Angeles and Calgary.
They've certainly been helped by their schedule recently. They've played mostly weaker teams recently, though they did put in a win against the league leading Predators.
They've also been helped slightly longer term by the play of Devan Dubnyk. While he has put in a few stinkers since being traded to Minnesota, he's also posted five shutouts and has a .937 SV% in 20 games for them.
Special teams are at the opposite end of the spectrum for Minnesota. The power play has been terrible, having success only 15.5% of the time. The flip is the penalty kill. Despite the goaltending issues the Wild have faced this season, they've managed to keep the puck out of the net on 86.7% of the man advantages they have given up - good enough for second in the league.
Keith Ballard, Matt Cooke, Ryan Carter, Jason Zucker and Jared Spurgeon are on IR.
Senators @ Jets
Prev game : Kings, Sunday, March 1st
Hot : Mark Scheifele - 4P (2G, 2A) in last 3 GP
Cold : Ondrej Pavelec - 0.888 SV% in last 6 starts
Like the Wild, the Jets are also a bubble team in the west, though they are an extra point further up on the teams that could knock them out of the playoffs.
The playoff hopes in Winnipeg definitely haven't been helped by the play of Ondrej Pavelec. He's got a pretty bad for a starter .909 SV% on the season, and that number is bouyed by a strong run at the start of November. Since the start of December he's been mostly around or below .900 in every game, with only one average performance and two great performances in that stretch. It should come as no surprise that Michael Hutchinson got the majority of the starts since the end of November. Hutchinson's numbers aren't world-beating at .920, but they're good enough to give Winnipeg a chance to win.
Possession wise, Winnipeg has been very strong this season. Their 5 on 5 CF% is 52.46, good enough for sixth overall in the league. Their special teams could use some improvement - neither is terrible, but both rank in the middle of the league.
Tyler Myers appears to be thriving somewhat better with Winnipeg - he's posted 5 points in 7 games since the trade, compared to only 13 points in 47 games with Buffalo. Jiri Tlusty hasn't made an impact on the scoreboard yet, but he's only had one game in a Jets uniform.
Winnipeg's injuries are Grant Clitsome, Matt Halischuk, Mathieu Perreault, Ben Chiarot and Blake Wheeler, all on IR.
Sabres @ Senators
Prev game : @Lightning, Tuesday, March 3rd
Hot : Mess
Cold : The corpse of their dignity
The problem with playing Buffalo so many times in a season is I'm running out of ways to say just how terrible they are.
Will Buffalo even have a NHL roster by Friday? I half expect them to be composed of draft picks, players on IR and a rotating cast of ATOs.
I could probably list the things where they're last in the league at, but I don't want to spend all night at it. Instead, here are the things where they ARNE'T last in the league:
- Goals Against per game - Technicaly they're tied with Arizona for last, but NHL.com lists them in 29th.
- Penalty Kill - Would you believe they have a better penalty kill than the Islanders?
- PIMs per game - They're not even second last in this one! (Okay, yeah, third last).
- Penalties drawn - Another one where they're not even second last! They're better than New Jersey AND Boston.
- Short handed goals against - Thanks Toronto!
Okay, that didn't take up nearly as much space as I'd hoped, but you've got to work with what you've got I guess.
Who's on IR? Cody McCormick, Patrick Kaleta, Josh Gorges, Zemgus Girgensons and Evander Kane. Tyler Ennis and Tyson Strachan are on day-to-day to start the week.