After taking a beating from the Montreal Canadiens on home ice two days ago, the Minnesota Wild returns to the scene of the crime, determined to reconcile that game with the fans. In hockey, an odd game can spiral out of control, but an 82-game season provides opportunities to rebound. The Wild will have that chance tonight when it faces another rare visitor to St. Paul, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Wild fell behind the Canadiens in the first minute on Sunday and never recovered. The Habs built a 7-0 lead before Minnesota got on the board thanks to a Mikko Koivu penalty shot. Jose Theodore was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals and taking the loss.
Like the Wild, the Maple Leafs needed a shot at redemption after getting shut out by the Florida Panthers on Thursday, 4-0. They took out their frustrations on the Boston Bruins on Saturday in a 5-2 victory. Joey Crabb led the Leafs with a goal and two assists, while Mike Brown and Nazem Kadri also scored. James Reimer turned away 35 shots to earn the win between the pipes.
Tickets are limited for tonight. Try visiting the Wild TicketExchange as a secure online source to purchase tickets from Season Ticket Holders. Click here to utilize it.
Wild vs. Maple Leafs 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.
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Due to rising flood waters on the Mississippi River, the city of St. Paul has closed Shepard Road between Eagle Street and Highway 61. Folks coming to the game should plan ahead and use alternate routes into downtown St. Paul.
General Manager Brian Burke has never been shy about shaking up his team, and his tenure with Toronto has been proof of that. Burke made a splash last year by acquiring Phil Kessel at the beginning of the season, and Dion Phaneuf prior to the trade deadline.
This year, he made a reverse splash, if there is such a thing, by unloading Kris Versteeg and Tomas Kaberle for a slew of prospects. Burke’s wheeling and dealing doesn’t appear to have worked as far as landing a postseason berth this season, but it appears that the pieces have been assembled for a run next year.
There was little joy on the face of Koivu after he roofed a backhand to convert on the Wild’s first successful penalty shot since February 17, 2007. That was little consolation to a captain that has played four games since returning from a broken finger and has notched five points (2-3=5). Koivu measures his success in wins, and wins only, but those W’s will come again if he maintains his current scoring pace.
Getting blown out at home wasn’t fun for anybody except the raucous group of Canadien fans that made a day of it at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday. Wild players admitted they were embarrassed, but they also stressed that they would come back from that and put out an effort to be proud of in their next game. The next game is here, and how the Wild responds will be important to set the tone for the final two weeks of the season.
Matt Cullen’s next goal or assist will be the 500th of his career, which would make him the eighth Minnesotan to ever reach that mark. He would join the exclusive club currently made up of Phil Housley, Neal Broten, Dave Christian, Reed Larson, Jamie Langenbrunner, Aaron Broten and Joel Otto.
Todd Richards will keep the same lineup he’s used the last two games: