Everything Else

 vs 

Game Time: 11:30AM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC, TVA-S, WGN-AM 720
Makes No Sense At All: Hockey Wilderness

Late season, weekend matinee games suck out loud regardless of the two teams involved. The thought process behind having them is clear, with both college and pro football shuttered for their respective seasons, and baseball yet to move north from Arizona and Florida, there is a void that can be filled by the Winter Tenants for viewership when there’s really only Law & Order: SVU reruns on elsewhere. But the vast majority of hockey games are played at night, and professional hockey players, like all athletes, enjoy their ya-ha time after a game and generally keep later hours. There is always at least a 24 hour break going into them so it’s not totally cutting into physical recuperation the way Thursday Night Football does, but circadian rhythms are still fucked with, and now past the deadline there are many teams who are just playing out the string. Couple that with the overall quality of the league due to a flat salary cap, and it’s left an absolute dogshit product on the ice on par with Thursday Night Football by any absolute or relative measure. And on top of that Daylight Savings just kicked in, so now two teams who at least on paper who are still jockeying for the top spot in the Central and the West, are effectively facing off at 10:30AM local time, all for the sake of courting viewers that the NHL is never going to grab. Nice work everyone.

Everything Else

 at 

Game Time: 7:00PM CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN, TVA-S, SportsNet, WGN-AM 720
Makes No Sense At All: Hockey Wilderness

And so it is now here, the most important regular season game in the history of the sport…at least until the next one. The Wild are still playing .900 hockey and have three games in hand on the Hawks, and a regulation win tonight should effectively salt the division away for them, and there’s nothing more that Bruce Boudreau likes than the taste of salted divisions. And the entire hockey world, such as it is, will be watching, as this is the only game on the docket tonight.

Everything Else

Box Score

Event Summary

War On Ice

Natural Stat Trick

Coming into this one, the main story was always going to be how Mike Yeo adjusted the way his troops went about playing this one, and would the d-men who all made mistakes in Game 1 leading to goals would tighten up or not. Yeo did change tack, and it was the Hawks’ d-men who certainly tightened up. Sadly for Minnehaha, Ryan Suter most certainly did not.

The Wild came into this one deciding to lean heavily on what they do best, and that is gobble up space in the neutral zone and keep things to the perimeter in their zone. While it wasn’t an out-and-out trap, it certainly was more conservative than they were in Game 1. On the surface, it makes total sense. As we said in the program tonight, when judging how things were going for each goalie in these playoffs, the Wild did seem more likely to win a 2-1 game than they do a 4-3 one.