It’s the Wild’s last game of the season, and we’ll see yet another new face and one familiar one. Defensemen Chay Genoway
and Kris Fredheim
have been recalled under emergency conditions for tonight's game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Xcel Energy Center.
Genoway will make his NHL debut, wearing number 47 for Minnesota. Some State of Hockey residents might be acquainted with Genoway; he was a five-year standout with the University of North Dakota. Genoway will be the 47th player to skate for the Wild this season, an NHL most. Fredheim appeared in two games with Minnesota earlier this season, making his NHL debut against Colorado on Nov. 11.
The Wild had to recall the pair of defensemen because Nate Prosser
was given a one-game suspension from the NHL for head-butting. Clayton Stoner
also will miss the final game with an upper body injury.
Even though the Wild will not make the post-season, tonight’s contest against the Coyotes will have playoff implications in the Western Conference. But, we’ll get to that in a little bit.
Thursday, the Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout, 2-1. Cal Clutterbuck
scored the game-tying goal with 3:12 left in regulation. The goal was Clutterbuck’s 100th career point. Marco Scandella
and Dany Heatley
assisted on the play. Devin Setoguchi
scored the lone shootout goal to give Minnesota the victory. Josh Harding
made 22 saves in the win.
The Coyotes took over sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a 4-1 win against the St. Louis Blues yesterday. Keith Yandle opened the scoring for Phoenix in the first period. Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan scored in the second, and Mikkel Boedker capped the scoring in the third. Mike Smith made 31 saves for the win.
Wild vs. Coyotes will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North Plus 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.
Tonight’s game will be the final day of the Wild’s 2012 Fan Celebration. All fans will receive a Wild team poster. Post-game will feature the popular Jerseys Off Our Backs ceremony. All fans in attendance can register to win the Cal Clutterbuck
game-worn jersey. The Schwan’s “Hockey Mom of the Year” will make the “Let’s Play Hockey” announcement.
With yesterday’s win, the Coyotes have control of their playoff pole positioning; leapfrogged both the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division. However, Phoenix only holds a one-point lead on both the Kings and Sharks. To make things more interesting, San Jose hosts L.A. tonight.
In his first season with Minnesota, Dany Heatley
has led the Wild offensively. He leads the team in goals (23) and points (52). Down the stretch, Heatley has been hot, scoring two goals and two assists in his last three games.
Last season, the Wild had an impact on the final day of the NHL regular season by beating the Dallas Stars, 5-3. Because the Wild won, the Chicago Blackhawks made the playoffs instead of the Stars.
The Wild can once again impact the Western Conference playoff picture on the last day of the season. With an outright Wild victory tonight, the Coyotes would lose-out on the Pacific Division title and home ice in the first round. An overtime or shootout loss for Phoenix combined with a San Jose win would still give Phoenix the division title. However, if the Kings beat the Sharks in regulation or overtime and the Coyotes settle for one point, Los Angeles would win the division.
Genoway is known as an offensive defenseman. Genoway leads Aeros’ defensemen in scoring with 32 points (7-25=32) including five power-play goals. The 5-foot-9, 173-pound native of Morden, Manitoba collected 127 points (26-101=127) and a plus-48 rating in 168 games during his five-year career at the University of North Dakota (2006-11). He was twice named an All-American and was a four-time All-WCHA selection.
The forward lines will stay the same as Thursday:
Genoway makes his NHL debut and Fredheim will join the blue line:
will get the final start of the season in net. He is 1-1-0 with a 2.02 goals against average and a .938 save percentage against Phoenix this season.
Prosser is suspended for the season finale.
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.
“There’s a different kind of pressure. For a lot of our players, they know they’re playing for jobs. And if you know you’re playing for your job you’re going to feel some pressure.”
-- Mike Yeo on the fallacy of playing without pressure in the final games
G Mike Smith played for the Houston Aeros, Minnesota's minor-league affiliate.
The Wild is 11-9 in shootouts – including winning five of the last six – to tie the NHL record with 20 shootouts in a season. Phoenix went to 20 shootouts in 2009-10, going 14-6 in them.