NHL 14-15/01/22: Minnesota Wild meet Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers host Columbus Blue Jackets
While the schedule has been hit by some postponements over the past week, the NHL is still the gift that keeps on giving! There are plenty of tasty games to look forward to. In this preview, we will look ahead to three matchups taking place this weekend, including Minnesota Wild v Anaheim Ducks, and Boston Bruins v Nashville Predators.
Minnesota Wild still in free-scoring mode
While the Wild will be looking to climb the Central Division, they have had no trouble scoring lately. They have scored three goals or more in each of their past six games, a record that dates back to mid-December. Last weekend, the Wild edged past the Washington Capitals 3-2.
At one point, the Wild were trailing, but they managed to come through in overtime. Although rookies Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy were rather shaky, the Wild displayed plenty of hunger to haul themselves back into the game. Currently, the Wild are fourth in the Central Division with a 67% win record, and they will be looking to improve upon that.
Anaheim Ducks enjoy topsy-turvy win over the Detroit Red Wings
The Ducks have had some mixed performances of late. There was the 4-1 drubbing at the hands of the New York Rangers, however, they bounced back impressively against the Red Wings. Well, perhaps it was more dramatic than they would have hoped! The Ducks emerged victorious in the shoot-out with Trevor Zegras and Rickard Rakell converting.
Trevor Zegras making a strong case for the Rookie of the Year award
The Calder Trophy is handed out at the end of the season, and it is awarded to the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. And Ducks star Zegras has been making a strong case that he deserves to walk away with the award. Against the Red Wings, he scored one goal, and provided an assist before contributing in the shootout. He’s some player!
Boston Bruins dismantle Washington Capitals with ease
The Bruins have hit their stride over the past week. After a comfortable 5-2 victory over reigning NHL champions Tampa Bay Lightning last Sunday, the Bruins followed that up with a rousing 7-3 win over the Capitals in midweek. Despite being bloodied during the encounter, Brad Marchand returned to the action to score two goals, and provide an assist.
Boston Bruins confirm deal for Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask is back on the Bruins’ books once again. Having previously enjoyed a successful stint at the Bruins, Rask is back, and he has put pen to paper on a one-year contract worth $1million. And he is a formidable figure in the sticks. Last year his save percentage was over 91 from 24 games played.
With goalies Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman also available to call upon, this has left Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy with a dilemma. However, he doesn’t appear too concerned. When asked about the situation, Cassidy said: “Having one net for three goaltenders, if that’s the case, it will be a challenge. But we’ll figure it out.”
However, Saturday night’s opponents, the Nashville Predators, will be no pushover. The Predators are currently top of the Central Division, with a 24-11-2 record to boot. They have won their last five games on the trot, and they will ask plenty of questions of the Bruins.
Florida Panthers trending in the right direction after taking out Vancouver Canucks
The Panthers have things under control, and after claiming back-to-back wins over the Carolina Hurricanes and the Vancouver Canucks, they remain top of the Atlantic Division with a 24-7-5 record, however, they will be without Sam Bennett. The forward is serving a three-match suspension for an illegal check on Montreal Canadiens star Cedric Paquette last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are fifth in the Metropolitan Division with a 16-17-1 record, need a quick pick-me-up. They will be reeling from their 4-2 defeat in midweek to the Chicago Blackhawks, and this weekend, the signs seem to point to a Panthers win.
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