Tell me if you've heard this before: a team with an emerging goaltending controversy is coming off of a win over Vancouver and must decide if it would be better to play the hot hand of the back-up, or play the struggling starter. Tonight that team has to face the Blues. Wait - what?
The Minnesota Wild, having beat the Canuckleheads on Thursday in a 5-1 shellacking, are also in a dilemma regarding their goaltending. The hot hand right now is Josh Harding, winner of 3 straight, but that would mean the continued benching of 6-million-dollar man Niklas Backstrom. They don't have a problem with that, apparently, because Harding has already been named as the starter. Coach Davis Payne has been more cagey, not announcing a starter yet. The Blues have not played many back-to-back sets yet, so it's hard to predict how the rest of the team will perform. In the meantime, get ready for a Wild night either way...
The Enemy: The Wild are not known has a high-scoring, high-shooting team, but that last win saw them put 45 pucks on net. So, take nothing for granted, I suppose. The team's scoring is led by 3 people with 8 points each: Pierre-Marc Bouchard (1G/7A), Matt Cullen (6G/2A), and Devin Setoguchi (4G/4A). Regardless of the stats, we all know who the all-star is on this team, Dany Heatley. Perennial pest Cal Clutterbuck is second in the league in hits so far this year with 48. That would be 49 if they counted the one on the linesman. The goalie for tonight will be Josh Harding, who is the current hot hand for the team. In his 4 starts this year, he's put up some pretty good numbers: 1.22 GAA/ .960 SV%. One bright spot, perhaps, is that the Minnesota power play conversion (11.8%) is only slightly better than our own (7.9%).
Final Verse: The game starts at 7 PM St Louis time. The GDT thread will drop shortly beforehand. Your broadcasts are on the usual outlets: FS Midwest for TV and the mighty KMOX 1120 AM for radio. Until then, this is your pre-game pre-party. Please join us for the GDT, OR you can also join some of us watching the game together tonight at Cousin Hugo's in Maplewood. If you follow us much on Twitter, you've probably heard about it. It's sort of a GTGT/ Tweet-up/ Welcome Sarah to St Louis party. Also, enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at Heatley and Setoguchi's arrival in the State of Hockey:
A "Wild" ALL STAR welcome... (via OttawaGh0st4)