GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Ducks
Minnesota Wild (8-6-2: 18 points, T-10th in Western Conference, 3rd in Northwest Division) vs. Anaheim Ducks (10-8-2: 22 points, 4th in Western Conference, 2nd in Pacific Division)
, who has arguably been the Minnesota Wild’s early season MVP not wearing goalie pads, gave us a scare on Sunday. Not long after scoring his team-leading sixth goal, Clutterbuck made his way to the locker room, and the second time, he didn’t return. Clutterbuck was diagnosed with one of those pesky upper-body injuries, and missed Tuesday’s practice. But Wild fans can breathe easy. Clutterbuck won’t miss any action, and number 22 will be out on the ice tonight for Minnesota’s return from a four-game road trip.
The Wild closed out the 2-2-0 road swing with a Sunday victory in Tampa. After Clutterbuck opened the scoring, John Madden
, Antti Miettinen
and Eric Nystrom
followed with goals, while Marty Havlat chipped in with three assists. Niklas Backstrom
earned his seventh win of the season with a 37-save effort.
The Ducks come to St. Paul for the second of back-to-back games after falling to the Dallas Stars in Texas last night, 2-1. It was Anaheim's first regulation loss in its last eight games. Corey Perry tallied the only Duck goal, which was his ninth on the year. Jonas Hiller took the loss after stopping 24 shots.
Fox Sports North ticket packs are available until 5:00 p.m. today, or until they are sold out. For $55, fans get two tickets, two hot dogs and two sodas. Visit wild.com/ticketpacks
for more information.
Wild vs. Ducks will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North at 7:00 PM. The game can be heard on WCCO 830 AM, or online at Wild.com.
to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
Also, a portion of all proceeds from tickets sold in the Club Level and Lower Level will support the Movember non-profit initiative. Watching hockey doesn’t get much better when you know your dollars are going to a good cause and most of the players you’re watching are sporting immaculate ‘staches.
Less than a month ago, the coach on the hottest seat in the NHL appeared to be Randy Carlyle. The prickly head man who led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2006 was rumored to be on the way out after Anaheim stumbled to a 4-7-1 record despite names like Perry, Getzlaf, Selanne, Koivu and Ryan on the roster.
But thanks to that group getting hot, Carlyle and the Ducks are suddenly sitting pretty among the top teams in the Western Conference. Perry and Teemu Selanne have already reached the 20-point mark, and Bobby Ryan will join them with his next point.
Some might have considered Havlat’s move to a line with Nystrom and Madden a demotion, but according to Todd Richards, that’s not the case. He’s just trying to find a couple of forwards that complement the playmaking winger, and after one game with the grinders, the results have been good. Havlat looked like the dynamic player we saw in the middle of last year, playing with speed, creativity, and yes, solid defensive play. In the last six games, Havlat has posted seven points on a goal and six assists.
This won’t be the storyline every time the Ducks and Wild square off, but in their first meeting of the season, we have to mention the Koivu battle. Brothers Mikko and Saku will square off for the eighth time. Mikko has a slight edge in scoring when facing his older bro. He’s got six points on three goals and three assists, compared to Saku’s one goal and four helpers.
Had rookie defenseman Marco Scandella
made his NHL debut at home, he might have had fans in the Xcel Energy Center covering their eyes at times. Scandella’s debut featured some first-time mistakes, as expected. What wasn’t expected was how well he would rebound in game number two. Looking like a veteran, the prized second rounder in 2008 played big, tough and skilled, which is exactly what the Wild needed with Brent Burns
missing the first of two games due to a suspension.
With Clutterbuck able to go, he’ll return to the second line with speedsters, Matt Cullen
and Casey Wellman
Burns will miss one more game due to suspension; so two rookies will again be on the blue line. Clayton Stoner
will be out:
Backstrom will get the start, while Jose Theodore
is expected to start one of the next two games against Detroit or the New York Rangers.
Burns will be out, and it appears Stoner’ll join him.
(concussion), Chuck Kobasew
(lower body), Guillaume Latendresse
(lower body) all remain out. Cal Clutterbuck
is expected to return despite an upper-body injury.
"You're worried, because you're moving him in different positions and you're using him in different roles. But his play hasn't changed. One thing that Cal has really been able to focus on and deliver every night is his consistent play."
-- Todd Richards on how valuable Clutterbuck has been in a variety of roles this season.
LW Jason Blake is a native of Moorhead and played his high school puck with the Spuds. C Ryan Carter is from White Bear Lake and went on to play two seasons at Minnesota State, Mankato. LW Aaron Voros and D Andy Sutton are both former Wild players.
The Wild is 4-1-0 in its last five games against the Ducks, outscoring Anaheim 17-11 during the stretch.