Welcome to Day 16 of FanSided’s NHL team previews. I am throwing three teams at you today, because…well…I’m a slacker and fell behind. So sue me, I have a demanding day job.
Los Angeles Kings defeated the Canes 3-4 last season. Staal, LaRose and Skinner provided the goals for the good guys. Justin Peters was between the pipes and allowed 23 of 27 shots. The editor over at Rink Royalty, Gavin Humes, lets us know if the Kings can take the Sharks for the #1 spot in their division…
The Los Angeles Kings head into this coming season with high expectations. In fact, this season is the first in quite a while where the Kings and their fans are perfectly justified in their optimism. Last season’s strong performances were derailed in the playoffs when they encountered a San Jose Sharks team looking to shed their “choker” label, and without their star forward, Anze Kopitar, lost to a brutal injury near the end of the season. Despite the loss, and the fact that the Kings ran into a strong San Jose team, they performed quite well, and converting on an important power play near the end of Game 6 might have turned the entire series on its head.
Catch the entire preview here.
Up next, the Minnesota Wild. Carolina played a back-to-back with the Wild last October and was triumphant in both contests. Jeff Skinner had the game winner on October 8th on a shootout goal. By the way, it was only his second NHL game. Beautiful. Let’s all pause for a video…
What were we talking about?! Oh yes, Minnesota. Another young gun, Brandon Sutter, claimed the game winning goal the previous night. Ward stopped 67 or 71 shots for a 0.944 SV%.
The Minnesota Wild placed a disappointing 12th in the tough Western Conference last season with a record of 39-35-8. Turnover was an issue for the club, as thirty-seven different players suited up for the Wild last season. The Wild were 26th in the NHL in goal scoring, and they were 16th in goals against.
The futility of the season resulted in the firing of head coach Todd Richards as the Wild look for an answer to get back into the playoff picture. Will they do it? Let’s examine the evidence and then make the decision.
Finish reading all about the Wild here.
Finally, the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs finished second to the Stanley Cup champs, Boston Bruins, in the Northeast division. They were a thorn in the Canes’ side last season as we lost three out of four games. Although, the game we did win was a big one. It was March 30th and really were trying to keep those playoff hopes alive. Canes beat Montreal 2-6.
I’m avoiding the pink elephant in the room if you haven’t noticed. Let’s get it over with…yes, they have Erik Cole…and one of my favorite Charlotte Checkers, Zach Fitzgerald. Boo. Pout. Hiss. Whatever. Here is the stupid Habs preview from A Winning Habit’s lead writer Steven Ellis.
Montreal is going to make the playoffs. It won’t be a high posiston, but it means we have a chance. Realistically, a 6th, 7th or 8th place finish is what they should be looking at. The Bruins are still the favorites to win the Cup, so if they finish high enough, they may face the Habs again in the first 2 rounds. But, as we found out this year, Montreal is always competitive against our hated rivals, and will put up a fight. With all the drama that happened last season, they should put up a big fight. If Montreal can beat the Bruins, they can beat almost anybody.
If you want to torture yourself further, you can click here to read more.