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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Carolina

Thursday, 10.24.2013 / 1:21 PM

Kelly Erickson - Digital Media Coordinator

Minnesota Wild (4-3-3: 11 points, T-8th in Western Conference, T-3rd in Central Division) vs Carolina Hurricanes (4-2-3: 11 points, 5th in Eastern Conference, 2nd in Metropolitan Division)
If one aspect sticks out about the Wild this season, it’s the squad’s consistency.

The defense is consistently solid, limiting opponents to a league-leading 21.2 shots per game. The offense has consistently generated shots on goal, as the Wild has outshot its opponents in eight of its ten games, with a 9.3 shot differential, second only to San Jose.

Goaltender Josh Harding has been dependable since stepping in for an injured Niklas Backstrom Oct. 8. in Nashville, and owns a 0.96 goals against average (second in NHL) and a .953 save percentage (third in the NHL). Harding owns a 4-2-1 record this season, earning all four of the Wild’s wins.

But that consistency isn’t always positive. The Wild has also been marred by a consistent inability to score of late, despite constantly peppering opposing goalies with a deluge of shots on goal.

While Tuesday’s 2-0 shutout win provides the locker room with a necessary boost, the Wild needs to find a way to continue the trend and has the opportunity to do just that against the Hurricanes.

But the Wild will have to do it without a key member of its blue line as Jonas Brodin is out indefinitely after fracturing his right cheekbone, taking a puck to the face Tuesday night. Brodin joins fellow defenseman Keith Ballard who has missed four games after taking a puck to his own face Oct. 14 in Buffalo. As a result, both Nate Prosser and Mathew Dumba will both be in the lineup Thursday.

One thing that has changed slightly through out the first 10 games are the forward lines. Head Coach Mike Yeo tinkered with the combinations mid-game, something he doesn’t normally do, flipping Justin Fontaine and Nino Niederreiter on the first and third lines. The move paid off as Fontaine put the Wild on the board. Yeo will stick with those lines against Carolina.

While Brodin will be missed, the defense proved its strength Tuesday night. Skating with only five defensemen, the Wild kept a hot Nashville team off the board and allowed only 16 shots on net. With 29 shots of its own, Fontaine (2) netted his first career game-winner, banging home a rebound off a Clayton Stoner (2) shot. Zach Parise (4-3=7) picked up a pair of assists on Fontaine’s score and Jason Pominville’s (4) empty-netter, respectively, which sealed the victory.

The Hurricanes are working on a two-game streak in the middle of a four-game road trip. Carolina is coming off a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday, in which Jiri Tlusty, Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner put the Hurricanes on the board, with Tlusty scoring twice. The Hurricanes have had four-days off and will be well rested for the trip to St. Paul. Thursday night’s tilt also marks Eric Staal’s 700th career game and is in the middle of a four-game point streak.
Meet the Canes If You're Going
Carolina is in the middle of a four-game roadtrip, coming off a 4-3 win over the Islanders. Working on a two-game win streak, the Hurricanes haven't seen action since Saturday which has allowed its banged up players get some needed rest.

The Hurricanes have proved to play well on the road so far this season, taking just one loss in four road games. Carolina is led by Jeff Skinner who currently averaging a point per game (3-6=9) and Eric Staal who is riding a four-game point streak with 7 points this season (3-4=7).
The Wild will host Harding's Hope Night agasint the Canes. Five dollars from every ticket purchased (up to $5,000) will benefit Harding's Hope, a charity launched by the Wild's Josh Harding to raise awareness and support for those living with multiple sclerosis. All fans will receive a Harding Masterton Trophy poster and the trophy itself will be on display along with information about Harding's Hope.

Tonight's game is presented by Treasure Island.

The Wild will wear its RED sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Zach Parise leads Minnesota with seven points this season (4-3=7). Entering play Wednesday, his three PPG are T-4th amongst NHL players (including Jason Pominville) and his 55 shots are second only to Ovechkin’s 61.

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

 
 
Wild.com
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Ryan Suter - Top 5 Memorable Returns | Pominville on NHL Live | Yeo | Prosser | Veilleux | Coyle
PONDcast
Wild vs. Carolina Preview ; Charlie Coyle
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The Wild will stick with the lines it finished with Tuesday:


Parise—Koivu—Fontaine
Heatley—Granlund—Pominville
Cooke—Brodziak—Niederreiter
Mitchell—Konopka—Veilleux

With Brodin out, the D-pairs will look a little different:

Suter—Spurgeon
Scandella—Prosser
Stoner—Dumba

The Wild will continue to look to Josh Harding. The netminder is 0-1-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a .893 SV% in one start (3/6/08) against Carolina.
View From The Press Box
I'll sit here and say that everyone is playing well right now. That said, our next game is our most important. We have to have that mentality.

- Yeo on the focus on winning
Keith Ballard will miss another game, as a preventative measure. Jonas Brodin is out indefinitely with a cheek bone facture from taking a puck to the face on Tuesday.

Charlie Coyle is on Injured Reserve with a knee sprain and is expected to be out for a few more weeks. Mike Rupp is still out with a lower-body injury and on IR.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Anton Khudobin was selected by Minnesota in the seventh-round 206th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and appeared in six games with the Wild (2009-11). Justin Faulk is a native of South St. Paul. Zenon Konopka has won 58-of-84 draws this season (69.0%) and ranks first amongst all NHL players with a 59.3% career faceoff win percentage.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Hurricanes 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.  
Wild.com
Prospects Report - Oct. 23 | Five Takeaways vs. Nashville | Wild 5-Hole vs. Nashville |
WildTV
Yeo - Oct. 23
PONDcast
MN Hockey Mag
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. NSH - Oct. 22
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Nov 09 '13MIN 3 at CAR 2 - SOM. Koivu
Oct 24 '13CAR 1 at MIN 3Z. Parise
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
J. Skinner10369+5820
E. Staal10358-51400
N. Gerbe10336-2411
A. Semin10325-21020
R. Murphy9145+1010
J. Faulk10055+1400
A. Sekera10044+0400
J. Harrison10123+21500
R. Dvorak10202+4401
J. Tlusty10202-1001
R. Hainsey10202-5201
J. Staal10112-3610
R. Nash9112+5000
T. Ruutu5022+0800
E. Lindholm5101-1000
P. Dwyer9011-2200
D. Bowman10000-1200
B. Bellemore9000-6200
B. Sutter8000-4200
K. Westgarth4000+0200
M. Komisarek2000+1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Ward82-2-3192162.81.912
A. Khudobin32-0-05702.00.929
J. Peters10-1-02212.14.905
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise11538+2631
M. Cooke11347+5602
M. Koivu11167+3600
J. Brodin10336+0420
N. Niederreiter11235-11010
J. Spurgeon11145-1410
R. Suter11055+1400
M. Granlund11055-2400
J. Pominville11404+0231
K. Brodziak11123+3600
D. Heatley11123-1810
J. Fontaine11202+5401
M. Dumba7112+0210
C. Stoner10022+31300
T. Mitchell11011+0400
K. Ballard6011+3700
N. Prosser3011+1500
Z. Konopka11000-12800
S. Veilleux8000-1600
M. Scandella8000-1400
C. Coyle2000-2200
J. Zucker1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding95-2-181711.00.953
N. Backstrom40-0-28602.98.867
D. Kuemper10-1-0375.63.571
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