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GAMEDAY: Wild at New Jersey

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

The Minnesota Wild closes out a quick three-game road trip tonight in New Jersey. Minnesota won the first meeting against the Devils with a 4-0 shutout victory at Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 3.

For forward Zach Parise, it marks the first time he returns to the Garden State since signing a 13-year contract with the Wild on July 4, 2012. Parise played the first seven years of his career for the Devils, totaling 410 points (194-216=410). In his final season with New Jersey, he captained the team to the Stanley Cup Final, but lost in six games to the Los Angeles Kings.

Since signing with the Wild, Parise has 41 goals and 42 assists. With an assist on Tuesday, the wing has tallied at least one point in 12 of the last 15 games, totaling 18 points (8-10=18) in that span. He ranks second on the Wild in scoring with 45 points (23-22=45) in 54 games this season.

On Tuesday, Mikko Koivu became the all-time leading scorer in Wild history (127-311=438). The captain used a three-assist night to pass Marian Gaborik (219-218=437). It was the 23rd time in his career scoring at least three points in a game.

In the last outing, the Wild switched up its lines and rolled to 6-0 win on Tuesday against the New York Islanders. In his return to Long Island, Matt Moulson scored two goals and added an assist. Jared Spurgeon, Mikael Granlund, Clayton Stoner and Justin Fontaine added goals for Minnesota. Ilya Bryzgalov made 36 saves for his first win in a Wild sweater and the shutout.

On Tuesday, the Devils lost at home to the Boston Bruins, 4-2. Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac scored for New Jersey. Martin Brodeur made 27 saves in the loss.

Meet the Beelzebubs

New Jersey is on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference playoff picture, five points behind Columbus in the final Wild Card spot. Players believe the team needs to win at least 10 of the last 13 games of the season in order to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If You’re Going

Amongst hockey fans, it’s been the trend to boo a returning player that leaves your team in free agency (See Ryan Suter in Nashville). Tonight, we’ll see if the boo birds are out as Parise makes his return to Jersey.

The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.

Who’s Hot

Since they began playing on the same line Jan. 30 in Denver, Zach Parise (7-8=15), Mikael Granlund (3-10=13) and Jason Pominville (5-7=12) have combined for 40 points (15-25=40) in 14 games. The rest of the Wild has totaled 22 goals in that time.

Probable Wild Lineup

Here’s what the lines looked like on Tuesday:





The D-pairings from Tuesday:




Between the Pipes

Typically, a goaltender coming off a shutout gets the nod in net and it looks like he will indeed get the start tonight. Bryzgalov is 5-5-1 with a 2.07 GAA, .919 SV% and two shutouts in 12 games (11 starts) against the Devils.

Yeo Quote of the Day

It accelerated the process of where we wanted to be as an organization.

-Yeo on signing Parise on July 4

View From the Press Box

Forwards Erik Haula and Mike Rupp will be out while defenseman Keith Ballard sustained a lower body injury in morning skate.

Forward Jason Zucker (surgery) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) are on Injured Reserve. Niklas Backstrom is expected to be shutdown for the remainder of the season.

Honorary State of Hockey Resident

LW Ryan Carter hails from White Bear Lake and went to Minnesota State-Mankato (2004-06). D Marek Zidlicky collected 123 points (25-98=123) in 241 games with Minnesota (2008-12). Jacques Lemaire coached the Wild from 2000-09. Dave Barr was a Wild Assistant Coach from 2009-11.

Worthless Stat

The Wild is 15-2-2 when Parise scores a goal this season and he ranks T-3rd in the NHL with 12 power-play goals and T-18th in TOI/game amongst NHL forwards.

Broadcast Info

Wild at Islanders will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North PLUS with a start time at 6:00 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.

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