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GAMEDAY: Wild at Pittsburgh

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild at Pittsburgh
Minnesota Wild vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Minnesota Wild (20-11-5: 43 points, T-7th in Western Conference, T-3th in Central Division) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (25-10-1: 51 points, 1st in Eastern Conference, 1st in Metropolitan Division)
After a brief one-game stay at home, the Minnesota Wild goes back on the road for three games before taking three days off for Christmas. Tonight, the Wild faces the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center for the first time since Jan. 8, 2011, a 4-0 win for Minnesota. The Wild has won six straight games in Pittsburgh, outscoring the Penguins 24-6 in that span.

Yesterday, the Wild placed goaltender Josh Harding on injured reserve as he makes a minor adjustment to his treatment protocol for Multiple Sclerosis. The team expects him to rejoin the team after the break in Winnipeg against the Jets on Dec. 27.

So, Niklas Backstrom will get the nod in net against Pittsburgh. The netminder owns a 3-1-0 record with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in four starts against the Penguins. Minnesota recalled goaltender Johan Gustafsson from its American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild, and he’ll backup Backstrom.

Tonight, Matt Cooke returns to Pittsburgh to face the team he helped win a Stanley Cup in 2009. Cooke collected 150 points (67-83=150) in 352 games during five seasons with Pittsburgh (2008-13).

Minnesota comes into the game on a two-game win streak, both pulled out with late game-tying goals and eventually shootout victories. The team hopes its late game heroics will continue, but would like to get off to better starts, especially on the road. While the Wild is 6-8-3 away from home this season, it has been dynamite against the Eastern Conference.  The team looks to improve its record away from Xcel Energy Center on its current three-game road trip, all against the East. Thus far, Minnesota is 9-4-2 against Eastern Conference teams.

Minnesota earned a come-from-behind victory in its last outing, against the Vancouver Cancucks, 3-2, in a shootout on Tuesday. Zach Parise scored on the power play and Charlie Coyle sent the game into overtime in the third period.  Jason Pominville scored the lone shootout goal, while Harding made 29 saves in regulation and overtime for the win.

Wild captain Mikko Koivu added two assists Tuesday for his 98th career multi-point game and regained the Wild lead with 20 helpers this season. He sits at 299 career assists, and will become the first Wild player in franchise history to register 300 assists on the all-time charts.

The Penguins pulled off a 4-3 shootout win against the New York Rangers yesterday after giving up a two-goal third period lead. The Pens got goals from Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Brandon Sutter. Brandon Sutter scored the only goal in the shootout. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves for the win. 
Meet the Nucks If You're Going
Injuries to Pittsburgh’s top four defensemen (Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi) and center Evgeni Malkin haven't stopped the team, coming into tonight’s game riding a five-game winning streak.

Sidney Crosby paces the Pens and leads the NHL in scoring with 49 points (19-30=49).
Don’t want to deny anyone delicious McDonalds, but hopefully this promotion will get shut down: If a Penguins player scores during the two (2) minute Big Mac Attack promotion, fans may take their ticket stub to an area McDonald’s location to get a free Big Mac. If you’re really craving Mickey D’s, just go buy some and don’t root for a Pens goal during the promo.

The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Ryan Suter is on a four-game assist streak (4), which ties the Wild season high (Granlund, 6; Parise, 4) and his 19 assists this season rank second on the Wild and T-6th amongst NHL defensemen.

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 | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
WildTV
Yeo | Parise | Cooke
PONDcast
Preview (coming soon)
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The Wild’s lineup will look the same as its last outing:

Parise-Koivu-Coyle
Niederreiter-Haula-Pominville
Bulmer-Brodziak-Cooke
Mitchell-Konopka-Heatley

There are no changes on the blue line:

Suter-Brodin
Spurgeon-Scandella
Stoner-Ballard



Backstrom has made 12 appearances with a 2.93 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.
View From The Press Box
We've known that this was coming…It's a minor adjustment. He feels great, and he wants everyone to understand that, but he'll be joining us after Christmas.

- Yeo on Harding
Defenseman Nate Prosser is expected to be the healthy scratch on the blue line, while it appears Justin Fontaine and Mike Rupp will be the scratches up front.

Forward Mikael Granlund has started to practice and is close to returning, but will not be in the lineup tonight.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
C Sidney Crosby played at Shattuck St. Mary’s (2002-03). RW Pascal Dupuis recorded 141 points (67-74=141) in 334 games during six seasons with the Wild (2000-06). RW Chuck Kobasew played in 105 games with the Wild (2009-11). C Andrew Ebbett skated in 49 games with Minnesota during the 2009-10 season. D Paul Martin is from Minneapolis and played at the University of Minnesota. D Matt Niskanen is from Virginia and played at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (2005-07). Minnesota has scored at least one third-period goal in 10 straight wins, dating back to a 2-1 shootout win vs. Toronto on Nov. 13. In that span, the third-period goals have been a game-winning goal in five games and have tied the game to force extra time before winning in a shootout in four contests.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild at Pittsburgh will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 6 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.    
Wild.com
Just Enjoy It | Coyle, A Kid And The Wave | Harding Placed On IR | Wild 5-Hole vs. VAN | Five Takeaways vs. VAN
WildTV
  Women's Nat'l Team | Fontaine Best Mo |
PONDcast
Granlund, Bulmer and Yeo
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. VAN
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 05 '14 PIT 0 at MIN 4 E. Haula
Dec 19 '13 MIN 2 at PIT 5 M. Niskanen
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise36151227+31882
M. Koivu3772027+11603
J. Pominville3716824+2854
R. Suter3702020+01800
N. Niederreiter3761117+72410
J. Brodin346612-21230
M. Cooke375712+62002
M. Granlund2421012+41001
D. Heatley377411-91230
J. Spurgeon3711011+41010
C. Coyle254610-62111
J. Fontaine32639+61401
K. Brodziak37279+21600
M. Scandella34189+81201
T. Mitchell34156-4800
K. Ballard21055+02700
C. Stoner35033+03500
M. Dumba13112-5210
N. Prosser12022+01900
E. Haula9022+3000
Z. Konopka34101-55500
S. Veilleux10000-4600
J. Zucker7000-2000
M. Rupp5000+0500
B. Bulmer4000+0200
C. McMillan1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding2718-5-3396361.51.939
N. Backstrom132-6-2343273.12.896
D. Kuemper20-1-06166.10.625
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
S. Crosby37193251+72264
E. Malkin3293241+23232
C. Kunitz37201737+173293
J. Jokinen3791423-1432
J. Neal17101121+12151
P. Dupuis3761319+7800
M. Niskanen3721416+202922
B. Sutter378715+2611
K. Letang246511-6841
O. Maatta373811+6800
P. Martin232911-1801
J. Vitale3511011+61501
B. Orpik31167+11000
J. Megna15426+3002
T. Glass24246-13800
C. Adams37325-33600
D. Engelland27235-23801
C. Conner14314+2200
B. Bennett12123+0000
S. Despres12033+4800
C. Kobasew20202+21102
B. Gibbons6112+0200
R. Bortuzzo21011-13300
R. Scuderi11011+5000
D. Jeffrey10011-2200
M. D'Agostini8011-1400
A. Ebbett5011+0000
B. Dumoulin4011+0400
Z. Sill10000-21000
H. Zolnierczyk6000+0600
P. Samuelsson3000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Fleury3020-8-1597792.00.924
J. Zatkoff86-2-0192172.46.912
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