In the tight Western Conference, a few bad games can quickly sink a team in the standings. Tonight, the Minnesota Wild looks to correct its current skid against the Philadelphia Flyers at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild is 2-2-1 all-time at home against Philadelphia.
Minnesota hopes home ice will get things going tonight. The club has a 10-3-2 record in Saint Paul this season. The Wild has also been successful against the Eastern Conference. Minnesota owns an 8-3-2 record against the East this season.
Two of the team’s leaders, Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise, look to keep their clutch play going as the calendar turns from November to December. The duo combined for 28 points (Koivu 5-9=14, Parise 5-9=14) in November. During the month, the pair connected on five game-tying or winning goals in the final five minutes of regulation.
Tonight, the fourth line might be in flux. Center Zenon Konopka skated in the morning skate after missing Saturday's game after taking a puck to the face. The Wild reinstated Mike Rupp to the active roster yesterday. The forward missed the last two games for personal reasons. Rookie forward Erik Haula is still with the team and could center the fourth line.
The most recent last-minute heroics came from Koivu on Saturday against Colorado. The Wild captain tied the game with only six seconds left in regulation. Matt Cooke started the comeback at 3:27 of the third period with his fourth of the year. Despite the comeback effort, the Wild was edged 3-2 in the shootout. Goaltender Josh Harding made 23 saves in the game.
Saturday, Philadelphia kicked off a 13-day road trip in Nashville and earned a 3-2 shootout victory. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier scored in regulation, while Vincent Lecavalier netted the winner in the shootout. Steve Mason made 34 saves in regulation and stopped all three of Nashville’s shooters.
Meet the Flyers
The Flyers comes to Saint Paul winning eight of their last 11 games, going 8-2-1 with five of the victories coming by two goals or more.
Forward Sean Couturier has goals in back-to-back games and has at least a point in five of his last seven contests. He has three goals and six points in that span.
If You’re Going
Tonight’s game kicks off the Wild’s support of the Wells Fargo Toys for Tots Drive. Fans can bring toys and donations to volunteers at all gates of Xcel Energy Center for games on Dec. 2, Dec. 5 and Dec. 17.
Parise leads the Wild with 23 points (11-12=23) and five multi-point games this season. He has five points in his last five contests (1-4=5) and at least one point in 13 of his last 18 games – totaling 18 points (7-11=18) in that span.
Probable Wild Lineup
There will be some movement with tonight’s forward lines:
The blue line is expected to stay the same:
Between the Pipes
Josh Harding is expected to get the nod in net. He suffered his first home loss of the season Friday but remains 31-10-2 in career starts at home and is 10-1-0 this season.
Yeo Quote of the Day
It's fair to say our game has been more down than up lately. The most important first step for us was to go out and play a really good game.
- Yeo after Saturday's game
View from the Press Box
Mikael Granlund is on Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident
RW Adam Hall played 23 games with the Wild during the 2006-07 season...RW Matt Read played four seasons at Bemidji State (2007-11).
Minnesota earned back-to-back shutouts against Philadelphia (2/10/03, 2/12/03); the first back-to-back shutouts in Wild franchise history.
Wild vs. Philadelphia will be broadcast locally in high definition on NBC Sports Network with a start time at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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