A little bit of home cooking is precisely what the doctor ordered.
The Wild return home tonight to host the Islanders and are coming off four-straight losses on the road. But with a return home, the Wild hope to rediscover its winning ways in a four-game homestand. Minnesota is 14-3-2 on home ice, which is tied for the second-most wins on home ice in the Western Conference.
But the homecoming does not come without a little spillover from the road. The Wild will once again skate without Zach Parise, who was placed on Injured Reserve Saturday, and Clayton Stoner, who was placed on IR Friday.
The Wild were without Parise Friday night in Winnipeg and needed some offensive output elsewhere — which is exactly what it got. Four different skaters scored for Minnesota — Dany Heatley, Justin Fontaine, Stephane Veilleux and Mikko Koivu — showing the Wild’s depth. But it wasn’t enough as the Wild fell 6-4 to the Jets.
On a positive note, goaltender Josh Harding was activated off IR Friday and is expected to start. Harding’s 1.51 goals-against-average leads the NHL while his .939 save percentage ranks second.
With the Islanders in town, the Wild will see a few familiar faces. Nino Niederreiter will face his old team for the first time and joining him is the other part of his trade, Cal Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck became a fan-favorite in the State of Hockey with his physical play — a role Niederreiter is starting to fill.
Tonight marks the second night of a back-to-back for the Islanders. Last night New York hosted the Devils and took a 2-1 loss as Frans Nielsen netted the Isles lone tally of the night. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov made 23 saves on the night.
Meet The Isles
New York is led by John Tavares' 39 point effort this season. He is tied for first on the team with 13 goals (13-26=39) with Nielsen and Thomas Vanek. Kyle Okposo is second on the Isles with 34 points and second in goals with 12 (12-22=34).
The Islanders have a rotation in net. Nabokov has started 20 games and owns a .902 save percentage and 2.88 goals-against average, with a 7-7-5 record. Kevin Poulin, who has 15 starts and 16 appearances this season, has a .892 save percentage and a 3.25 goals-against average.
If You’re Going
If you plan on being in the Xcel Energy Center crowd tonight, then there's a good chance you could be the 10 millionth fan in Wild history. Don't forget to register for the 10 Millionth Fan sweepstakes for a chance to win a custom 10 millionth fan jersey, an team autographed stick and much more. Fans can register at the box office, Guest Services locations, the promo booth outside section 123 and Fan Central outside section 102. You must be 18 and older to register.
Also, stop by section 121 where the Olympic Torch will be on display and available for photo opportunities, presented by Avaya.
The Wild will wear its RED sweaters.
Jason Pominville picked up two assists Friday night in Winnipeg and is tied for the lead on the Wild in points (17-11=28). He’s registered 11 of his 28 points in the Wild’s last 13 games.
Probable Wild Lineup
Expect the lineup to look the same as it did against Winnipeg:
The blue line will remain the same:
Between The Pipes
Harding will return to the crease tonight for the Wild after missing four games due to an adjustment in his MS treatment. He has not faced the Islanders but is 14-1-0 on home ice this season.
Yeo Quote Of The Day
View From The Press Box
Honorary State Of Hockey Resident
Cal Clutterbuck was selected by Minnesota in the third round (72nd overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and collected 110 points and 1,457 hits in 346 contests with the Wild (2007-13). Kyle Okposo is from St. Paul and played one season at University of Minnesota (2006-07). Aaron Ness is from Roseau and played three seasons with the Gophers (2008-11). Brock Nelson is from Warroad. Thomas Vanek played two seasons at the University of Minnesota (2002-04).
Far from worthless and very much appreciated, tonight the 10 Millionth Fan will be in attendance. That mark would not have been reached if it weren't for the thousands of fans who make Xcel Energy Center such a great place to play every night. To anyone who's ever attended a game or anyone in the State of Hockey who has ever hoped to, thank you.
Wild vs New York Islanders will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North 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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