GAMEDAY: Wild at Ducks
Minnesota Wild (8-5-3: 19 points, T-4th in Western Conference, 2nd in Northwest Division) at Anaheim Ducks (6-7-3: 15 points, T-13th in Western Conference, 5th in Pacific Division)
Injuries are a part of hockey, and they affect every team in the National Hockey League at some point over an 82-game season. It looks like the Minnesota Wild is about to face its first real stretch of injury adversity. After losing Guillaume Latendresse
to a concussion during Thursday’s game in San Jose, the Wild lost defenseman Marco Scandella
for the bulk of last night’s game with an apparent head injury.
Scandella’s absence certainly didn’t help the Wild last night in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings built a 5-0 lead and chased starting goaltender Josh Harding
after scoring four goals. The Wild eventually chipped away at the lead in the third period on goals by Cal Clutterbuck
and Darroll Powe
, but couldn’t get closer.
The Anaheim Ducks stopped a six-game losing streak on Friday by narrowly escaping the Vancouver Canucks with a 4-3 victory. Saku Koivu, Andrew Cogliano, Corey Perry and Peter Holland scored second period goals to build a 4-0 lead and Anaheim was able to hang on despite a furious Vancouver rally in the third. Jonas Hiller earned the win after making 38 stops on 41 shots.
Wild at Ducks will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North with a start time at 7:00 PM. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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Like the Wild, the Anaheim Ducks are heavily involved in the great cause that is Movember. Of course, aside from Cal Clutterbuck, they’ve got one of the most famous moustaches in the NHL belonging to George Parros.
Don’t expect the Wild to be fooled by the Ducks slow start and recent six-game skid. Minnesota is well aware of what a team with Perry, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan can accomplish. Those first three scored the goals in Anaheim’s 3-2 win over the Wild last month.
registered an assist on Clutterbuck’s power play goal last night, making him the 25th active player to reach the 700 point mark. Heatley now has two goals and two assists over the last four games, and he leads the team in scoring with 11 points.
It took more than a month for the Wild to lose two straight games in regulation, but last night’s defeat was the first time the club was punched in the mouth and didn’t respond. Every time you looked at the game, the play was taking place in the Wild end, at least until it was too late.
Tonight will be about how the Wild responds. Look for them to do it with some anger right off the opening drop.
Scandella’s injury left the Wild blueliners shorthanded last night with Justin Falk
and Nate Prosser
both logging career-highs in ice time. It appears as though Clayton Stoner
will be able to rejoin the lineup after missing seven games with a hand injury.
Yesterday, it was Nick Johnson
getting time on the top line. Look for him or Clutterbuck to start tonight’s game on that line:
It’s possible the Wild calls up a player before tonight’s game, but it’s expected that Stoner gets in the lineup:
Backstrom was called in for relief last night, and he’s expected to go again tonight. The Wild recalled Darcy Kuemper
yesterday, but it’s believed that was to allow for Josh Harding
to depart early for Columbus and avoid a long day of travel tomorrow.
Unless there is a call to Houston, there won’t be any healthy scratches.
Stoner (hand) appears ready to return, but Mike Lundin
(back), Greg Zanon
(groin), Guillaume Latendresse
(concussion) and Scandella (head) are all out.
“They wanted him to play a couple weeks ago and he’s not at 100 percent, but he’s going to go in there and battle. We could have used a guy that was going to battle tonight.”
- Mike Yeo on the possibility of getting Clayton Stoner back in the lineup
LW Jason Blake is a Moorhead native and played his high school hockey for the Spuds. RW Andrew Gordon played three seasons with the St. Cloud State Huskies. D Kurtis Foster scored his first two NHL goals in his first game with the Wild in 2005. D Matt Smaby is a Minneapolis native and played his prep hockey with Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
In the last 13 meetings between the Wild and Ducks, it’s been the team scoring first that has come away with the victory. Four of the Wild’s eight victories this season have come after surrendering the first goal of the game.