The Minnesota Wild attempts to stay undefeated in 2014, tonight hosting the Washington Capitals. It’s the second and final regular season meeting between the Wild and Caps, with Washington taking a home shootout win, 3-2, on Nov. 17.
Minnesota has never lost on home ice against Washington (6-0-0) and is the only club to not win a game at Xcel Energy Center.
In the Wild’s last outing, the club got back to its stingy defensive game. Well, with Washington coming to town, Minnesota needs to keep that trend. The Caps are ninth in the National Hockey League in scoring, averaging 2.85 goals per game. The visitors also have the second ranked power play in the League, firing at 25 percent.
Tonight the team closes out a four-game homestand. The Wild has posted a 15-5-2 record at Xcel Energy Center this season, winning 11 of its last 15 games and 15 of its last 20 contests on home ice.
Today, the team placed defenseman Jared Spurgeon on Injured Reserve. He is expected to miss a few weeks with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot on Thursday.
Wild captain Mikko Koivu has been leading by example and in the team’s last outing, he notched his 100th career multiple-point game. He is on a four game point streak and has six points (1-5=6) during the stretch. If he scores tonight, he’ll set a season high point streak.
Yesterday, the Buffalo Sabres claimed forward Zenon Konopka after the Wild placed him on waivers on Thursday.
The Wild got a complete team effort on Thursday, topping the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1. Ten different players earned points, as Marco Scandella (2), Jason Pominville (18), Jason Zucker (1) and Kyle Brodziak (3) netted goals. Clayton Stoner returned from Injured Reserve, had five hits and was named the games Third Star. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves for his third win of the season.
On Thursday, the Caps were topped at home in overtime by the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3. Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer and Steve Oleksy scored for Washington and Philipp Grubauer made 29 saves in the loss.
Meet the Caps
The Capitals are on a three game losing streak (0-1-2) and have won just three of its past 10 games. Despite the rough patch, the team has still earned points in the standings, gaining at least a point in four losses over that stretch.
Alex Ovechkin leads the League in goals with 31. His linemate, Nicklas Backstrom (spelled with a ‘c’) leads the team in points (10-35=45).
If You’re Going
DVR tonight’s episode of Becoming Wild, which will air on FOX Sports North after the game. The episode will follow Jason Zucker back to his hometown of Las Vegas.
Ryan Suter recorded two assists, a plus-three rating, four shots, two blocked shots and two hits in Thursday’s win. He has four points (2-2=4) in a three-game point streak and 11 points (2-9=11) in his last 11 games.
Probable Wild Lineup
Bulmer will enter the lineup for Fontine:
With Spurgeon on IR, Keith Ballard will be back in the lineup:
Between the Pipes
Backstrom will get his second straight start. He’s 2-1-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage in three starts.
Yeo Quote of the Day
We defended better and created turnovers. You have to create situations where they’re out of posture and it’s more of a counter attack situation for us.
- Yeo on the team’s better transition offense against Buffalo
View From the Press Box
Forward Mike Rupp will be the lone healthy scratch.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident
RW Joel Ward made his NHL debut with Minnesota appearing in 11 games (2006-07). D Jack Hillen is from Minnetonka.
The Caps didn’t score a goal at Xcel Energy until its third game in the building and the team’s only point in Saint Paul came in a 3-2 shootout loss on Oct. 12, 2006.
Wild vs. Washington 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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