After racking up an eye-popping 47 goals and 46 assists with the Houston Aeros in the 2005-06 season, Minnesota Wild prospect Patrick O’Sullivan appeared primed to play his next season at Xcel Energy Center. A draft day trade with the Los Angeles Kings put the kibosh on that, but only temporarily. O’Sullivan will make his long-awaited Wild debut tonight after the club picked him off waivers yesterday from the Carolina Hurricanes. Pat O will wear sweater number 19.
The Wild had a three-game win streak snapped on Saturday night in a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers. Matt Cullen tallied the Wild’s first shorthanded goal of the season, and Martin Havlat also scored. Niklas Backstrom was saddled with the loss after stopping 25 shots.
The Flyers currently sit atop the Eastern Conference after downing the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, 3-2. Philly trailed 2-0, but goals by Ville Leino and Claude Giroux knotted the score before James van Riemsdyk picked up the game-winner with his first of the year. Brian Boucher earned the win with 29 saves.
You can watch the Wild take on the Eastern Conference champs from the Upper Level Sides tonight. To get your ticket, click here.
Wild vs. Flyers will be broadcast locally in high definition on KSTC-TV Channel 45 at 7:00 PM. The game can be heard on BOB/KBGY FM, or online at Wild.com.
Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
The Wild has partnered with KARE 11 to break a Guinness World Record on November 26 for the largest gathering of people with moustaches. The Wild is encouraging fans to be a part of the fun after the game on Friday, but three KARE 11 representatives will be spreading the word tonight. Dave Schwartz, David Watkins and former Minnesota Swarm lacrosse star Eric Perkins will deliver the “Let’s Play Hockey” declaration tonight.
It was considered a surprise last summer when it was the Flyers that reached the Stanley Cup Finals. One reason for that was because they barely made the playoffs and were seeded seventh. The other was due to the fact that the Flyers trailed the Boston Bruins, three-games-to-none before rattling off four straight.
But the Flyers weren’t a team that simply got hot at the right time. They are talented, which they are proving this year with the NHL’s highest win total of 14. Mike Richards has 22 points (9-13=22) in his last 16 games, and six goals in his last six contests. Claude Giroux is leading the team with 12 goals and has put up nine points (5-4=9) in his last seven. And of course, there’s the rugged defensive corps led by Chris Pronger, who has six assists in his last six games. Defensive partners Andrej Meszaros and former Wild captain Sean O’Donnell are a combined +29 on the season.
Brent Burns has a point in each of the last two games, and currently leads all Wild defensemen with 11 points (6-5=11). His six tallies rank second in the NHL among blueliners behind Dustin Byfuglien’s seven.
The Wild will have three players on the roster tonight that didn’t play against New York on Saturday. Justin Falk and Matt Kassian were recalled today, and both are expected to be in the lineup. But O’Sullivan’s debut will be the major focus. He’s a proven offensive threat, and the Wild will be counting on him to provide a spark to the front lines, which have struggled to pile up goals over the past two weeks.
The Wild’s fourth line won’t be burning up the ice tonight, but they might put some dents in it should things turn physical. Kassian will join that line with Kyle Brodziak at center and Brad Staubitz on the other wing.
O’Sullivan will hop onto the second line where the recently reassigned Casey Wellman was kept:
Falk’s callup was made in case Marek Zidlicky is unable to go with a lower body injury. Zidlicky will be a game time decision:
Backstrom, who is 4-2-0 in his last six starts, will man the crease tonight. Jose Theodore will make his first home start of the season on Friday against Nashville.
Robbie Earl will sit out, and Falk will likely be out as well.
Zidlicky is questionable tonight with a lower body injury. Guillaume Latendresse is undergoing two surgeries today to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and a bilateral sports hernia. He will be out indefinitely. Chuck Kobasew (lower body) has resumed skating, but will not play tonight. Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) is out.
"I’m expecting him to come right in, and fit in and have a positive impact and a positive role on our team.”
-- Todd Richards on his expectations for O’Sullivan being put right into the lineup.
D O’Donnell was the first Wild captain in team history back in 2000. RW Andreas Nodl was a standout at St. Cloud State.
The Wild has been outshot 18 times this season, but has a record of 10-7-1 in those games. No other team has won more than eight games while being outshot.