Monday, September 30, 2013

The 2013-14 Minnesota Wild: 5 Must See Games

With the NHL season one day away, and the Wild season three days away, lets take a look at the five must see games on the Wild calendar this season.

5. October 10th-Wild vs Jets. The Wild promote this matchup as "renewing" this rivalry from the North Stars days. Realistically, did the North Stars and Jets have a rivalry? No. But that is in the past. The Wild and Jets have had only two previous matchups, both coming in 2011-12. Both were also Jets wins. Now enter the 2013-14 season, and the Wild and Jets find themselves in the same division and look to create a new rivalry for both teams. Given the short drive from Winnipeg and Minnesota, traveling fans make the atmosphere in both arenas great for the tilts between the two teams. If the preseason game at Xcel Energy Center this year was any indication of what's to come, this will be a great game to watch.

4. October 28th-Wild vs Blackhawks. The Wild get their first crack at the defending champs at the end of October. The game will be used as a measuring stick for the team to see where they really stack up with the team that is expected to make a serious bid to repeat as Stanley Cup Champs. This is also the first chance the Wild have to get back at the Hawks for sending them home last May in just five games. Should be a great one to watch at the X.

3. October 3rd-Wild vs Kings. Season openers are always fun to watch. In the history of the Minnesota Wild, the team is 12-0-1 (the one is a tie, not a OT/SO loss) in their home openers, and what better way to test that record than the Pacific Division favorite Los Angeles Kings. The matchup is also the first game at Xcel Energy Center for the Kings since Dustin Brown's hit on Jason Pominville last March (Pominville missed the remainder of the season with a concussion), so expect the fans to give him a not so warm welcome.

2. April 5th-Wild vs Penguins. Any time you play the Penguins, you circle it on the calendar. The Penguins are one of the best teams in this league and they feature two of the best players in the game (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin). Since the game is in April, it figures to be a good test for the Wild and gauge where the team is as they, hopefully, are set to get in the playoffs. Look for a good bout from two should be playoff teams in early April.

1. March 20th-Wild @ Devils. Devils fans probably have this one more heavily watched than Wild fans do, but it is one that will still be worth watching. Zach Parise makes his return to New Jersey after leaving The Garden State in the summer of 2012 for his homestate. The matchup is also a reunion for the Wild and defenseman Marek Zidlicky (who's number three was finally unretired for Charlie Coyle) after he was sent to the Devils at the deadline in 2012. But mainly, this is the one to watch because its Parise's return to New Jersey.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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