Stalock’s shootout performance was just what Wild needed
FOX Sports North
Alex Stalock (⬆ UP)
Coming off back-to-back losses against bottom-feeders Detroit and Philadelphia, Minnesota desperately needed a win Tuesday night over the 18-25-3 Los Angeles Kings. Stalock delivered. Back in net after replacing Devan Dubnyk in the third period of Monday’s loss, the 31-year-old stopped 31 shots and made all three saves in a shootout, earning the Wild a 3-2 win at home. Despite a recent slump, Minnesota sits just one point out of a top-three position in the Central Division.
Jones brothers (⬇ DOWN)
It’s been a rough week in the Jones household. Tyus and Tre, who both starred for Apple Valley High School, suffered injuries on back-to-back nights and will both miss significant time. Tre, one of four standout freshmen at top-ranked Duke, left a surprising 95-91 loss to Syracuse on Monday after suffering a shoulder injury on a collision with the Orange’s Frank Howard. One night later, Tyus exited Minnesota’s 149-107 loss to Philadelphia with a high left ankle sprain. This is not OK.
Amir Coffey (⬆ UP)
Let us introduce you to the Big Ten’s top scorer. Well in conference play, that is. In five Big Ten games, Coffey is averaging a league-high 23.4 points per contest, boosted by a 29-point performance in a win over Rutgers on Saturday. That was just three off his career-best 32 points that he put up against Nebraska back in early December, thanks to 14 makes from the free-throw line.
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Bob Motzko (⬆ UP)
Calling it a “signature weekend” might be an overreaction, but nevertheless, Motzko needed his Gophers to play well at No. 9 Notre Dame. Thanks to a whopping 76 saves over two games from goaltender Mat Robson, unranked Minnesota earned its first sweep of the season. Starring for the Gophers were sophomore Brannon McManus and freshman Blake McLaughlin, who tallied two goals apiece on the weekend. It was the third straight win over a ninth-ranked team for the Gophers, as Minnesota topped then-No. 9 Penn State 4-1 on Jan. 5. If the Gophers want to sneak into the NCAA Tournament and become relevant again, they’ll need to avoid a letdown this weekend against last-place Michigan State (7-12-3).
Lindsay Whalen (⬇ DOWN)
While Motzko is trending up, it appears the honeymoon for Whalen at the Barn might be over. The Gophers began the Whalen era by rattling off 12 straight victories, including a 74-56 win over rival Wisconsin to start conference play. But since then, Minnesota has dropped four straight games -- all to conference foes. The latest was a disappointing 81-63 loss to No. 22 Iowa. The Gophers held an eight-point lead at halftime, but the Hawkeyes outscored Minnesota 49-23 the rest of the way, dropping Minnesota to 12-4 overall -- and last place in the Big Ten (1-4).
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Jason Zucker, Wild forward (⬆ UP)
Zucker managed to score just one goal in a 14-game stretch from early December to Jan. 8. But since then, Zucker has tallied four points (three goals) over the past four games. Zucker, who turned 27 on Wednesday, gave himself an early birthday present by scoring the game-winning shootout goal against Los Angeles on Tuesday – the first shootout score of his career.