Wild: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Shane Abbitt)

And thus begins the long and winding road. The Milwaukee Admirals are embarking on their last game in the month of November tonight. A win would mean going 0.500 on the month but, more importantly, would be setting the right tone for the start of a serious amount of time out on the road. The Admirals are about to endure nine of their next eleven games on the road and the month ahead of them will see only four home games played. If things are going to change for the better it will need to get started on the road. That starts tonight against the Iowa Wild at the Wells Fargo Arena.

The Wild enter tonight’s game with a record of 10-7-2-0 (22 points, 0.579 points percentage) which has them in second place in the Central Division behind the Manitoba Moose (0.714). Much like the Moose when the Admirals faced them on Saturday night: the Wild are on a roll. The Wild have won eight of their last ten including their last two straight. And they are freshly removed from a Sunday game in which they beat the Chicago Wolves on the road 6-4.

This will be the first time that these two teams have met since Opening Weekend. The Admirals swept those two games: 5-2 on opening night and a lot tighter of a game the next time out 5-4. Both of those games took place in Iowa and also saw Ryan Malone turn back the clock to a bygone era of hockey. The Admirals top two scorers from that opening weekend both hauled in 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and both aren’t here: Frédérick Gaudreau and Vladislav Kamenev. Though, perhaps this head-to-head is what Anthony Richard has needed. He scored in both games against Iowa – and only has a single goal scored ever since.

What I’ve admired about the Wild since last season is their veteran leadership presence elevating the younger squad around them. That’s precisely what Pat Cannone and Cal O’Reilly are doing. The two have combined for 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists). Behind them, Colton Beck and Landon Ferraro are also doing really great work. It allows for players such as Luke Kunin, Sam Anas, and Justin Kloos to settle in that much more – which all have.

The player there that should be highlighted for tonight is the 19-year old, Kunin. He was the most impressive and active player for the Wild when these two last met. He played a heavy game as well as a skilled game. He has since played 17 games in the NHL with Minnesota where he has produced 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists).

Niklas Svedberg has been the main option in net for Iowa. He has appeared in 14 games, earned 6 wins, and has a 2.73 goals against average, 0.908 save percentage, and a shutout to his name. Against the Admirals on Opening Weekend he 8 goals from 47 shots faced. Meanwhile, Steve Michalek has won in all 4 starts he has been given while rocking a stellar 1.72 goals against average and 0.947 save percentage. Perhaps it might be time to see favoritism shift in net for Iowa. We shall see later tonight.

What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Will this road heavy portion of the schedule help or hurt the Milwaukee Admirals? What needs to happen in order for the depth outside of Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler to start producing?

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