The Minnesota Wild can’t catch a break when it comes to injuries in the past three months, but it might have caught a small break. A two-day break in between games is rare, especially on a weekend. But the Wild has had two days to wait on a precarious goaltender situation. Josh Harding suffered a lower body injury on Thursday. Had the Wild been scheduled to play again on Friday or Saturday, there’s no telling what they would have done. But with two days off, Harding has recovered at least enough to be a gametime decision for the backup role behind Matt Hackett tonight against the Calgary Flames. If he can’t go, Head Coach Mike Yeo says the team has a “backup plan.”
The Wild shrugged off a couple more injuries on Thursday night to end a five-game skid and beat the Phoenix Coyotes, 3-2 in a shootout. Kyle Brodziak and Steve Kampfer staked the Wild to a 2-0 lead. The Coyotes rallied after Harding left the game in the second period with a lower body injury, but Hackett stopped 15 of 17 shots to finish the game, and then stopped three of five shootout attempts. Three Wild players tallied goals in the shootout, including Erik Christensen, Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley with the clincher.
The Flames improved their playoff chances on Friday with a 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Alex Tanguay paced the Flames with a goal and three assists while Jarome Iginla notched a goal and two helpers. Mark Giordano, Matt Stajan and Curtis Glencross also scored while Miikka Kiprusoff turned aside 42 shots in the victory.
Wild vs. Flames will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North with a start time at 5:00 PM. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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All fans attending today’s game will receive a collect & win trading card featuring Kyle Brodziak.
The college hockey fans might have noticed that Curtis Glencross was a talented player when he skated for the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves in college. But it has to surprise some how well he has performed at the NHL level, especially this season. Glencross has scored a goal in six straight games and has added two assists as well. He’s already equaled his goal total from last year with 24, and he’s on pace to reach the 30 goal plateau.
Kampfer was a -4 on Tuesday night in the Wild’s ugly loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Not only did the team respond in Phoenix, but Kampfer came back impressively. He scored his first goal in a Wild uniform and helped the Wild overcome just five healthy defensemen in the lineup by playing more than 30 minutes.
Last night’s events at Xcel Energy Center proved that anything can happen in sports. A high school team dealt with a tragic injury to a beloved teammate and rallied around each other to march to a state championship despite being the underdog heading into the tournament.
The Wild would like to bottle up some of that inspirational magic as it kicks off a five-game homestand tonight. The Wild will play 10 of its final 14 games at home, and they’re hoping a win in Phoenix might kick off a lengthy home win streak.
The Wild likely won’t have to put three defensemen out there for more than 30 minutes tonight. Jared Spurgeon is feeling better and should be available. Clayton Stoner may also be available, as he’s being called a gametime decision. Stoner would give the Wild a big and physical presence on the backend that has been largely missing since he went down with a lower body injury.
The line combinations will likely stay very similar to Thursday’s. Cal Clutterbuck is not expected to return: