will become the 46th player to don the Wild sweater tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. He also will be the 15th rookie to play for Minnesota this season. Cuma was recalled under emergency conditions because Clayton Stoner
suffered an upper body injury against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. Cuma, the Wild’s first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft will make his NHL debut. Cuma skated in his first professional season with the Aeros last year. In 68 games with Houston this season, the 6-foot-1, 194-pound blue liner has nine assists.
The Wild has collected a point in four-straight games and is 3-0-1 during the stretch. Also, each of the Minnesota’s last four games has gone beyond regulation.
In Nashville on Tuesday, the Wild was bested by the Predators in a shootout, 2-1. Dany Heatley
scored the team’s lone goal on a redirection from Nate Prosser
’s point shot. Mikko Koivu
added an assist on the play. Niklas Backstrom
made 23 saves in the loss.
Chicago’s last game was on Sunday against the Wild. In a heated contest, the Wild earned a 5-4 shootout win against the Blackhawks. Patrick Kane scored twice for the Hawks and Patrick Sharp and Victor Stalberg added goals. Ray Emery made 26 saves in a losing effort.
Wild vs. Blackhawks will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 7:00 PM. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
It's the second night of the Wild’s 2012 Fan Celebration, and all fans in attendance will receive a scratch-off card for a chance to win great prizes. Each card is a winner. The Wild also will be giving away additional prizes during the game through a register to win, including prizes from Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Target, Sun Country Airlines, Kwik Trip, Kincaid’s, Troy Burne Golf Club and Innovative Office Solutions.
The Blackhawks can still finish as high as fourth in the Western Conference, but do not control their own destiny. Chicago will have to gain some wins and get some losses from the teams they are chasing.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews is on the trip, but will not play, missing his 21st straight game. Toews could still play in the season finale Saturday at Detroit. Duncan Keith will return to the lineup after missing five games due to a suspension for elbowing Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.
The Wild’s top line of Mikko Koivu
, Dany Heatley
and Devin Setoguchi
has been creating the type of offense we were starting to see before injuries to Koivu and Setoguchi sidelined the trio. In the last two games, the line has combined for nine points on three goals and six assits.
Actually, Cuma was expected to make his Wild debut on March 8 against the Phoenix Coyotes, but missed his connection flight while trying to get through customs in Canada. However, Cuma is in Minnesota and will wear number 65 for the Wild tonight.
Only in his second year as a pro, Cuma has dealt with a number of injuries to start his career. However, don’t write off the 22-year-old because he has shown a measure of resiliency in the early stages of his career.
Sunday’s Wild, Hawks game was a testy affair to put it mildly, just the type of game you’d expect heading into the final week of the regular season. The two teams combined for 58 penalties in the contest and three fights. However, the scraps weren’t scripted tussles as there was some genuine animosity between the two clubs. Don’t be surprised if today’s game is a similar, physical affair.
The forward lines will stay the same as Tuesday:
Cuma makes his Wild debut and takes the place of Stoner:
again will get the start against the Hawks. Harding is 5-3-0 with a 2.53 goals against average, a .927 save percentage and one shutout in eight games against the Hawks.
All healthy players will be in tonight's lineup.
Stoner suffered an upper body injury on Tuesday. Jared Spurgeon
is out indefinitely with a concussion. Steven Kampfer
is out for the season with a lower body injury. Matt Kassian
(sports hernia) has been shut down for the season. Matt Cullen
(finger) had surgery and is out for the remainder of the season. Mike Lundin
is shut down for the season after having surgery on a sports hernia. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and Guillaume Latendresse
are on Injured Reserve with concussions.
“It’s been the tale of a couple of different seasons here. The way that we’re playing right now, with Mikko back in the lineup, leads us to believe we’re much more of the team we saw in the first half than the second half.”
-- Mike Yeo on the Wild's season
F Andrew Brunette skated six seasons (2001-04, 2008-11) with the Wild. D Nick Leddy was the Wild’s first round pick (16th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and is a native of Eden Prairie. D Sean O’Donnell was the Wild’s first captain in 2000.
D Dylan Olsen played at UMD.
The last time the Wild played four consecutive games that went beyond regulation was Dec. 2 – 9 in 2006.