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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Blue Jackets

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Blue Jackets
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Minnesota Wild
WildPlayer
Minnesota Wild (2-2-1: 5 points, T-7th in Western Conference, 3rd in Northwest Division) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (2-3-1: 5 points, T-7th in Western Conference, T-3rd in Central Division)
The Wild returns to Xcel Energy Center after a two-game road swing and looks to end its current three-game skid tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Last season, the Wild and the Blue Jackets split the season series with two wins apiece.

Minnesota’s top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley has led the way through its first five games, scoring 10 of the team’s 13 goals. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that he wants all of the lines to follow the top line’s lead and ‘play the right way,’ not only in the offensive zone, but also in the D-zone. He has spoken about the team being more difficult to play against; that starts in the Wild’s own end and continues into the offensive zone.

Jonas Brodin will combine with Ryan Suter tonight as the Wild's top defensive pair. Brodin has looked solid in his first two games in Minnesota.

One area that the Wild’s bench boss would like to see improvement is at the offensive blue line when entering the zone. Yeo said Minnesota has to improve on chipping pucks into difficult areas and finishing checks, so that opposing defenders have to pay a price physically when retrieving pucks.  
Minnesota built a two-goal lead on Sunday, but was unable to hang on and was edged in overtime by the St. Louis Blues, 5-4. After allowing the first goal, Minnesota climbed to a lead on two power play goals by Parise and a four-on-four goal from Koivu. The Blues answered with three-straight, before Heatley banged in his fourth of the year out of midair to square the game at four. However, Vladimir Sobotka scored at 2:16 of the extra frame to send the Wild home with a point. Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves in the game.

Columbus is coming off of a 2-1 win at home against the Dallas Stars. The Blue Jackets were fueled to victory by Vinny Prospal’s game winner 82 seconds into the third period. Sergei Bobrovsky had 24 saves in the win. Derek Dorsett also scored for the Blue Jackets.
Meet The Avs If You're Going
Last night’s victory over Dallas ended a four-game losing streak for Columbus. Typically, teams fly out after a game on the first night of a back-to-back, however, due to weather, the Blue Jackets were unable to depart after last night’s win and arrived in the State of Hockey midmorning today.

The Blue Jackets traded its longtime captain Rick Nash to the New York Rangers in July in exchange for forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, defensive prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick in 2013. One of three ‘alternate captains’ Derek Dorsett leads the Jackets with four points (1-3=4).
The Minnesota Wild celebrates its 500th game (combined preseason, regular season and playoff) at Xcel Energy Center tonight. The arena has hosted concerts, rodeos, national sporting events and conventions, but its primary function has been Wild hockey and is still a beautiful barn.  

To celebrate, all fans in attendance will receive a Minnesota Wild schedule poster presented by the Star Tribune.
 
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Parise has started his Wild career with a five-game point streak (5-4=9), including five points (4-1=5) in his last two games, marking only the second time in his career he’s had back-to-back, two-goal games (2/9-2/11/09). It’s the first time in Parise’s career that he has started a season with five goals in five games, and he becomes the first Wild player to start his time with the team with five goals in five games.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.

Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo Gameday | Suter Gameday
PONDcast
Wild vs. Blue Jackets Preview
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The forward lines will look the same as Sunday:

Parise – Koivu – Heatley
  Bouchard – Granlund – Setoguchi
Cullen – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Mitchell – Konopka – Powe

Jonas Brodin will join Suter on the top defensive pair:

Suter – Brodin
Gilbert – Stoner
Falk – Scandella


Niklas Backstrom will get his second-straight start in net. Last season, he played in all four games against Columbus going 2-2-0 with a 2.26 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.
View From The Press Box
If we're playing the right way, part of our identity is we're frustrating and difficult team to play against. There's a couple things with that. One, let's make sure if you're not scoring that you don't get scored on. Two, you look at that top line and look at how they're scoring. They're playing the right way. They're executing the right way, they have the right mindset, and so let's learn from that.

- Yeo on the top line and being difficult to play against
Forward Matt Kassian and defenseman Nate Prosser will be tonight's healthy scratches.

Jared Spurgeon is still day-to-day with a lower body injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Columbus Head Coach Todd Richards served as the Wild’s head coach from 2009-11. LW Colton Gillies skated in 89 games over three seasons with the Wild (2008- 12). The Wild is 15-5-2 against the Blue Jackets in Saint Paul all-time, but has gone 1-2-1 against Columbus in the last four meetings at Xcel Energy Center.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Blue Jackets will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North with a start time at 7:00 p.m. 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.

Wild.com
Vote Last Week's Top Plays
Five Takeaways at STL - Jan. 27
Wild Recalls Scandella
WildTV
Yeo - Jan. 28 | Dumba - Jan. 27
PONDcast
Prospects PONDcast
Photo Gallery
Wild at STL - Jan. 27
2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 13 '13CBJ 3 at MIN 2 - SOM. Letestu
Apr 07 '13MIN 3 at CBJ 0R. Suter
Jan 29 '13CBJ 2 at MIN 3P. Bouchard
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
F. Tyutin7145-6600
D. Dorsett7134-42100
A. Anisimov7213-3600
V. Prospal7213-6011
J. Wisniewski7123-1010
M. Letestu5202+0200
N. Foligno7112+0410
J. Johnson7112-2410
D. Brassard7022-2400
B. Dubinsky7022-31500
N. Nikitin7022-3600
R. Johansen7022-3200
C. Atkinson3101+0000
R. Umberger7011+1200
J. Boll7011+02500
J. Moore7000-3000
A. Aucoin7000-5200
M. Calvert6000-6200
D. MacKenzie5000-1200
C. Gillies2000-1500
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
S. Bobrovsky42-1-1101292.40.922
S. Mason30-3-011923.73.880
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise6549+3431
M. Koivu6268+1800
D. Heatley6426+0021
T. Gilbert6235+0400
R. Suter6044-5400
P. Bouchard6213+1601
M. Granlund6112+0200
C. Stoner6022+2700
J. Brodin3022+0200
C. Clutterbuck6011+1600
D. Setoguchi6011+0000
T. Mitchell6011-1000
J. Falk6011-1700
M. Cullen6011-3200
K. Brodziak6011-4200
J. Spurgeon3011-3000
Z. Konopka6000+01200
D. Powe6000+0900
N. Prosser4000+0000
M. Scandella2000+0400
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom42-1-1121062.99.887
J. Harding21-1-05512.56.902
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