Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Wrapup

A look back at the rather cold month of January in the State of Hockey:

Team Record: 9-4-1 in January, 29-21-6 overall
Standings: 4th in Central Division, 7th in Western Conference

3 Stars:

3. Marco Scandella (14 GP, 2 G, 4 A, +7)
The stat sheet might not give him the nod, but Marco Scandella was very worthy of the third star in January. With Jared Spurgeon out for a majority of the month, the Wild needed Scandella to step up and he did exactly that while averaging 20 minutes per night. One could also argue the case for Scandella being an unsung hero for the club all year. If you haven't noticed Scandella yet, pay a bit closer attention to him on a nightly basis.

2. Ryan Suter (14 GP, 4 G, 5 A, +9)
On January 4th, Ryan Suter notched his first (and most likely his only) career hat trick against the Washington Capitals. That game set the pace for Suter's month as he was second on the Wild in points for the month of January with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise missing a significant amount of time. Also not forgetting that Suter continues to log close to 30 minutes of ice time each night, which easily leads the league.

1. Darcy Kuemper (10 GS, 6-2-1, 2.15 GAA, .932 Save Percentage)
This was just about the easiest decision to make here. There was no one player who meant even half of what Darcy Kuemper meant to the Wild in the month of January. The 23 year old netminder stepped in between the pipes against Los Angeles, and did not look back. In pretty much every game this month, you found yourself saying afterwards 'The Wild are never close in that game without Kuemper". After a shaky first couple of outings this year, thie month of January was a great surprise for the Wild, given the fact their first two goaltenders were dealing with injuries this month.

Top 5 Plays:

5. Nino Niederreiter shootout goal vs LA (putting the moves on Quick!)


4. Niklas Backstrom save vs PHO (flat out robs OEL of a goal)


3. Darcy Kuemper save vs LA (flashes the leather on Justin Williams)


2. Jason Pominville goal vs CHI (Granlund makes a great pass)


1. Jason Pominville goal vs EDM (again, all made possible by Granlund)

Best Game: 
January 28th at Anaheim
Against the league's best home, and arguably overall team, the Wild walked into Anaheim and came away with two points. It was by far the team's best performance on the season, as they dominated the Ducks for good portions of the game. The Wild got four goals from four different players and rode a 31 save performance by Darcy Kuemper to a 4-2 win.


Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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