Official Site of the Minnesota Wild
Maple Leafs

Game Preview

GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Toronto

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:15 AM

Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content

Share with your Friends

GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Toronto
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (10-4-4: 24 points, T-7th in Western Conference, 4th in Central Division) vs Toronto Maple Leafs (11-6-0: 22 points, T-4th in Eastern Conference, 4th in Atlantic Division)
The Minnesota Wild kicks off a three-game home stand tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tonight’s matchup marks the final meeting between the Wild and Leafs. Toronto took the opening game on its home ice, 4-1, on Oct. 15.

For the Wild, home ice has been nice of late. The Wild has won its last three games at Xcel Energy Center and has scored 13 goals in those contests. Overall, the club is 7-1-2 on the season in Saint Paul.

Goaltender Niklas Backstrom will get his first start in net since Oct. 28. The 35-year-old suffered a lower-body injury at the beginning of the season and saw Josh Harding step up in his absence. Tonight, Backstrom will get the chance to win some more starts against the Leafs.

Nearly at the quarter mark of the season, we’ve seen Minnesota’s success start in the defensive end. The Wild is the stingiest team in the league in shots allowed, holding opponents to 24.2 shots per game. That has helped its goaltenders, allowing a third-best 2.06 goals per game.

One of the team’s keys has been depth on the blue line. Yesterday, the Wild placed Keith Ballard on Injured Reserve. Clayton Stoner returns to the lineup after missing a game with a lower-body injury. Even with the injuries, Minnesota’s D-corps has stepped up. It also doesn’t hurt that the team sports last season’s Norris Trophy runner-up, Ryan Suter. The iron lunged blueliner leads the NHL in time on ice averaging 29:22, while topping 30 minutes eight times this season. He set a franchise record with a career-high 36:51 TOI Thursday in Washington before skating 35:28 Saturday in Carolina.

After a slow start on the penalty kill, the Wild has rebounded shorthanded of late. The team has only allowed one power play goal in its last four games and is 12 of 13 in those contests.

Minnesota has also found timely scoring from its depth players. Rookie Justin Fontaine has a nose for the net and has five goals in the last nine games. He ranks tied for third in goals (6) and plus/minus (plus-6) rating amongst NHL rookies.

Yesterday, Minnesota loaned forward Mike Rupp to the Iowa Wild, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, for a conditioning stint. The forward hasn’t appeared in a game this season and has been on Injured Reserve with a lower-body injury.

The Wild won its first shootout of the season in Carolina on Saturday, 3-2. All three of Minnesota’s shooters, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Mikko Koivu, scored to give the team the win. In regulation, Pominville and Justin Fontaine scored for Minnesota, while Josh Harding made 27 saves for his ninth win of the season.

The Maple Leafs dropped its last game, 3-1, on the road to the Boston Bruins. Goaltender James Reimer’s 31 saves weren’t enough as the Leafs lone goal came from Joffrey Lupul. 
Meet the Maple If You're Going
Following a fast start Toronto has stumbled, dropping five of its past nine. Perhaps it's been tough for the Maple Leafs to find a rhythm of late: Wednesday's game will be only their fourth in 13 days this month. They're averaging just a goal per game over the first three. Tonight, the Wild hosts the 7th Annual Second Harvest Heartland Food and Fund Drive, Presented by Toyota. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations to the game. Second Harvest volunteers will be collecting donations at Gates 1-4 from gate open to the middle of the first period.

The Wild will wear its RED sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Pominville tallied his 200th career goal Saturday at Carolina. He ranks tied for third in the NHL with three GWG and T-4th with 10 goals this season. He also leads the Wild with a plus-8 rating (plus-10 since Oct. 22).

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.
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
Yeo | Niederreiter | Scandella | Pominville |
Wild vs. Toronto
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The Wild has found some consistency up front:


With Stoner back in, Dumba will come out:


G Niklas Backstrom is 2-2-0 with a 2.50 GAA and a .915 SV% in four starts vs. Toronto.
View From The Press Box
We’ve been earning that confidence as we’ve been going along…It’s been built through the season with the game that we’re playing, the chances we’re creating and the things we’ve been doing on both sides of the puck.

- Yeo on the team’s confidence level of late
Matt Dumba will be the lone healthy scratch.

Defenseman Keith Ballard is on Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Phil Kessel played one season for the Univer­sity of Minnesota (2005-06). Jake Gardiner is from Minnetonka. Tonight’s game will be the Wild’s 500th NHL game at Xcel Energy Center (regular season and playoffs). The team is 262-163-74 all-time at Xcel Energy Center.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Toronto will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North PLUS with a start time at 6:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at FSN PLUS channel finder, here.
Rupp Assigned To Iowa For Conditioning; Ballard On Injured Reserve | Five Takeaways at Carolina | Wild 5-Hole at Carolina |
Yeo - Nov. 12 | Fontaine - Nov. 12 | Stoner - Nov. 12
Rupp, Yeo - Nov. 12
Photo Gallery
Wild at CAR
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Nov 13 '13 TOR 1 at MIN 2 - SO Z. Parise
Oct 15 '13 MIN 1 at TOR 4 T. Smith
P. Kessel1810919+51333
N. Kadri185914-12821
J. van Riemsdyk167613+61620
J. Lupul168412-31620
M. Raymond186612+1222
D. Bolland156410+41812
C. Franson1801010-2600
D. Phaneuf18257+91600
T. Bozak11336+5220
M. Rielly15066-4600
P. Ranger18145+41600
J. Gardiner18033+2600
J. Leivo7112+0000
T. Bodie9022+0500
N. Kulemin6022+1400
T. Smith9101-1001
C. Gunnarsson18011+2800
J. McClement17011+11000
C. Ashton12011+21200
D. Clarkson8011-22300
D. Broll5011+1500
C. Orr16000-25100
F. McLaren7000+02100
M. Fraser5000+11800
J. Smithson3000+0200
J. Devane2000-1000
S. Abbott1000-2000
J. Bernier127-4-1243962.05.939
J. Reimer84-2-0152572.30.942
Z. Parise199716+51052
J. Pominville1911314+8633
M. Koivu1921113+41000
M. Granlund1921012+51001
R. Suter1901111+31000
N. Niederreiter193710+51410
M. Cooke19369+71002
J. Fontaine19606+61001
J. Brodin16336+2420
J. Spurgeon19156+2410
K. Brodziak19235+31000
D. Heatley19224+01020
T. Mitchell19134-1600
K. Ballard9044+6900
C. Coyle7123-21110
C. Stoner17033+62000
M. Scandella16033+5800
M. Dumba10112-3210
N. Prosser8022+11900
Z. Konopka19101-23200
S. Veilleux10000-4600
C. McMillan1000+0000
J. Zucker1000+0000
J. Harding1510-2-2173221.21.947
N. Backstrom71-1-2161273.30.874
D. Kuemper10-1-0375.63.571 is the official Web site of the Minnesota Wild Hockey Club. The Minnesota Wild,, "The State of Hockey" and State of Hockey flag image are trademarks of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015  Minnesota Sports & Entertainment and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

About Us | FAQs | Contact Us | Employment | Terms of Use | Advertising | Code of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices