GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Red Wings
Minnesota Wild (24-23-3: 51 points, T-12th in Western Conference, 4th in Northwest Division)
vs. Detroit Red Wings (24-17-8: 56 points, 9th in Western Conference, 3rd in Central Division)
On Tuesday, when Brent Burns
participated in his first full practice since sustaining a concussion, Todd Richards said it was “conceivable” that he would play against the Detroit Red Wings. Still, it didn’t seem likely that Burns would make his return so quickly, but after two practices, number 8 will be back in game action tonight against the Wings.
The Wild has been practicing hard the last two days after finishing an 0-3-0 road trip with a 4-3 loss on Dallas on Monday. Minnesota spotted the Stars a 4-0 lead before Antti Miettinen
scored twice, and then assisted on Mikko Koivu
’s goal. Josh Harding
came into the game in relief of Niklas Backstrom
and stopped all 14 shots that he faced.
The Red Wings have lost three straight but picked up a point in two of those games before losing to Washington on Tuesday, 3-2. Daniel Cleary and Brian Rafalski picked up the goals for the Red Wings, who outshot the Capitals, 46-23. Chris Osgood made his first start since December 20 and took the loss.
Tonight’s game is a sellout, but Gametime RUSH tickets will be made available at 7:00 PM. Click here
to find out more about the RUSH offer.
Wild vs. Red Wings will be broadcast locally on KSTC-TV Channel 45. The game can be heard on WCCO 830 AM, or online at Wild.com.
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If You’re Going
Maybe you’re getting married this summer? If so, make sure you are one of the first 6,000 fans through the gates tonight, and you’ll receive a Wells Fargo Wild Rally towel. Then, you won’t have to register for hand towels, and instead you can set your attention on those fancy salt and peppershakers.
Meet The Wings
Sitting one point out of a playoff spot sounds pretty nice to Wild fans right about now. But in Detroit, that’s grounds for blowing up the team. If the Wings don’t move into that eighth spot in the West or above, they will miss the playoffs for the first time in 19 years.
Injuries to key players have decimated the defending Western Conference champions. Andreas Lilja (concussion), Johan Franzen (knee), Jason Williams (leg), Niklas Kronwall (knee) and Tomas Holmstrom (foot) are all currently out and have already missed significant time.
A team used to getting big numbers across the board is being led in goals by Todd Bertuzzi’s 13. The Wings have been saved, literally, by the revelation of Jimmy Howard in goal. Howard is 17-10-4 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.
appears to have reached a comfort zone with his new team, and the questions about “what’s wrong with Marty?” have ceased in the last couple months. Havlat has four assists in the last two games, and he now has at least one point over the last 20 contests. In those 20 games, he’s posted six goals and 16 assists. Havlat has climbed to third on the Wild scoring charts with 33 points.
The return of Burns will be the major talking point tonight. Though his minutes will be watched closely, and he likely won’t see a lot of time on special teams, his presence could be a huge boost to a team that has lost three straight.
Keep An Eye On
Tonight will be Josh Harding
’s first start at Xcel Energy Center in more than a year, when he faced Detroit on January 3, 2009. Harding has stopped 63 of the last 64 shots he’s faced.
Probable Wild Line Combos
It looks as if Miettinen will re-join Andrew Brunette
and Koivu on the top line after the departure of Petr Sykora. With Detroit lacking a lot of bruisers, Derek Boogaard will be scratched:
Probable Defensive Pairings
The Wild blue line will get a boost tonight with the return of Burns:
Between The Pipes
Harding will get the start tonight.
View From The Press Box
Boogaard and John Scott will be the healthy scratches tonight.
Burns returns after missing 29 games with a concussion. Clayton Stoner
(groin), Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion) and Chuck Kobasew
(knee) are all out.
Richards’ Quote of the Day
"Based on our skate today, I think guys are pretty focused. We’re playing one of the premier teams, so I think guys are focused and ready.”
-- Todd Richards on his team following today’s morning skate.
Honorary State of Hockey Residents
RW Patrick Eaves is a product of Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault. Wings Video Coach Keith McKittrick is a former Minnesota Wild intern.
The Wild’s next overtime win will be its ninth, and will set the record for most extra session victories.