It appears the Sidney Crosby show will skip Minnesota this season, and the Evgeni Malkin sideshow is in jeopardy of being cancelled as well. Crosby continues to progress from a concussion sustained last season, and Malkin is doubtful for tonight’s game due to a knee injury. But the show will go on with some pretty good stand-ins for Pittsburgh, a team that plays its system consistently, no matter the names in the lineup.
Tonight’s meeting between the Wild and Pens will be a special start time of 6:30 p.m.
The Wild had a similar team to Pittsburgh visit on Saturday when the Detroit Red Wings escaped with a 3-2 overtime victory. Greg Zanon and Cal Clutterbuck each notched their first goals of the year to build a 2-0 lead, but the Wings rallied and eventually won in the extra frame. In his official return to the Wild crease, Josh Harding stopped 38 shots.
The Penguins are coming off a second straight loss in regulation after falling to the Winnipeg Jets last night, 2-1. Zbynek Michalek scored Pittsburgh’s only goal in the second period, which trimmed the Jets lead to one. Marc-Andre Fleury took the loss despite stopping 32 of 34 shots.
Good seats are available for tonight’s game. Lower level seats can be had for as low as $75 each. Go here to learn more.
Wild vs. Penguins will be broadcast nationally in high definition on Versus with a special start time at 6:30 PM. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.
You’re going to get to the game early tonight anyway, due to the start time of 6:30, but you might as well be one of the first 10,000 fans in the building so you can get a blaze orange Wild hunting hat courtesy of Gander Mountain as you enter. Hunting season is upon us, and that blaze orange doesn’t just look sexy, but it can also prevent you from a serious injury so you don't get mistaken for a pheasant.
It hasn’t seemed to matter who has been in the lineup for Pittsburgh against Minnesota the last few years. The Wild has been able to bring its best against the Pens and Head Coach Dan Bylsma, who is still looking for his first victory over the Wild. Last year, Minnesota steamrolled to a 4-0 victory.
Thus far, James Neal has picked up the scoring slack for the Pens, leading the team with five goals. It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Neal always seems to come through in the season’s first month. In 31 October games over his career, Neal has posted 18 goals and 32 points.
When Guillaume Latendresse was put on a line with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, it was thought that it would be Cullen and Bouchard making the passes. Latendresse was just supposed to get close to the net and pump in some shots at close range. Instead, it’s been Cullen lighting the lamp, and Latendresse becoming the playmaker. He set up Zanon’s goal on Saturday for his second consecutive game with a helper, and now leads the team in scoring with four assists.
Head Coach Mike Yeo doesn’t like to talk about himself, as was the case before the Wild’s first preseason game and the team’s home opener. But he’s the focus just one more time as he goes up against Bylsma, the coach he worked for and won a Stanley Cup with in 2009.
It may not last long, but Clutterbuck is not the Wild’s current leader in hits with 14. That honor belongs to Colton Gillies, who leads the club with 15 and was a force on Saturday as he threw his body around and wreaked all kinds of havoc in the Red Wing end. It was his hustle that led to Clutterbuck’s goal in the second period.
Yeo will keep his lines the same tonight as the Wild remains healthy on the front lines:
Mike Lundin (back) remains out as he works his way back from injury.
"We don’t want to build Pittsburgh’s winning culture here. We want to build the Minnesota Wild’s winning culture here.”
-- Mike Yeo on looking ahead to his time with the Wild as opposed to back at his time in Pittsburgh
RW Pascal Dupuis played 334 games for the Wild and joined the team at the end of its inaugural season…D Zbynek Michalek played 22 games for Minnesota in 2003-04…C Richard Park was a member of the Wild’s 2003 playoff team…D Paul Martin won a state championship with Elk River, and later won a National Championship with the Minnesota Gophers…D Matt Niskanen played his high school hockey at Virginia-MIB and then played two seasons with the UMD Bulldogs…Crosby played prep school hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault.
The Wild has played three straight overtime/shootout games for the first time since November 28 through December 4, 2009, winning one of the three games. The Wild has played to overtime or a shootout four games in a row twice. The team won three of four games in both stretches.