GAMEDAY: Wild at Red Wings
Minnesota Wild (37-33-8: 82 points, 11th in Western Conference, 3rd in Northwest Division) at Detroit Red Wings (45-23-10: 100 points, 3rd in Western Conference, 1st in Central Division)
A day after starting four rookies on the blue line, the Minnesota Wild will add two youngsters to the front lines. The club recalled forwards Carson McMillan
and Colton Gillies
this morning, in time to face the mighty Detroit Red Wings for the final time this season. The callups were made due to injuries to Martin Havlat
and John Madden
, who both stayed behind in Minnesota. McMillan, who was a seventh-round pick of the Wild in 2007, will make his NHL debut after posting 10 goals and 12 assists in 78 games with the Aeros. Gillies will play his fourth game with the Wild this season. He has 11 goals and 15 assists in 64 games with Houston this season.
Yesterday, rookies Maxim Noreau
and Justin Falk
were used in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both had solid games, but Minnesota could only muster a Pierre-Marc Bouchard
tally against Dwayne Roloson. Niklas Backstrom
took the loss in a 20-save effort.
The Red Wings are on their way to clinching another Central division title after rallying from a three-goal deficit to knock off the Nashville Predators in overtime yesterday. Justin Abdelkader scored twice and Jakub Kindl also scored in regulation before Danny Cleary tallied the winner in overtime. Jimmy Howard earned the win with 31 saves.
Wild at Red Wings will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North at 4:00 PM. The game can be heard on WCCO 830 AM or online at Wild.com.
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Fans attending today’s game in Eminem’s hometown will receive an “April in the D” T-shirt courtesy of Fox Sports Detroit.
What do you know? It’s April and the Red Wings are gearing up yet again as one of the favorites in the Western Conference. The Wings are proof positive that the assumption that a team has to be terrible for a stretch in order to improve through draft picks. They also disprove the theory that you have to land huge names during free agency or trade deadline deals.
The Wings continue to dominate despite finishing in the top third of the conference year after year, simply by developing their own picks, whether they be early rounders or late rounders. Abdelkader, Pavel Datsyuk, Valterri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Tomas Holmstrom, Jiri Hudler, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard have all played their entire careers with the Wings. Even more amazing is that Kronwall is the only one of those players who was drafted in the first round (29th overall in 2000).
Bouchard continued his amazing comeback from a concussion yesterday by tallying his second goal and third point in the last three games. Bouchard would seem to be a shoo-in as a finalist for the NHL’s Bill Masterton trophy, which is given to the players that best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Nobody can question those characteristics of Bouchard, who shook off questions of whether he would ever return and hasn’t missed a game since coming back on December 1.
Gillies, McMillan, Falk and Noreau are a couple weeks from taking part in the AHL playoffs with the Houston Aeros. Today’s game should give them a taste for the type of hockey to expect in the postseason. They’ll all be needed to step up due to a rash of injuries in the Wild lineup.
For the last two seasons, Noreau has been an AHL All-Star with the Aeros, but his chances at the NHL level haven’t come easy. Yesterday, he showed he can play at the NHL level, at least for one game. Today, he’ll show if he can play with the Red Wings, which is often a notch above “NHL level.”
Todd Richards will have to get creative with his line combinations today:
Once again, there will be four rookies on the blueline today:
will get the start today.
All of the healthy bodies available will be used today.
It was announced yesterday that Nick Schultz
(post-concussion syndrome) will be out for the remainder of the season. Marek Zidlicky
(lower body) and Cam Barker
(upper body) are getting closer to returning, but are out today. Madden (lower body), Havlat (undisclosed) and Guillaume Latendresse
(abdominal) are out for today’s game.
“We’re not giving up.”
-- Todd Richards on is team’s mentality despite being officially eliminated from the playoff picture after yesterday’s loss.
RW Patrick Eaves is a product of Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Faribault...C Mike Modano is the last remaining active player from the Minnesota North Stars.
The Wild’s 392 man-games lost due to injury are the 4th most in the NHL. Only the New York Islanders, Colorado and New Jersey have more.