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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Washington

Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 6:52 PM

Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Washington
Washington Capitals vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (21-17-5: 47 points, T-9th in Western Conference, T-4th in Central Division) vs Washington Capitals (20-15-6: 46 points, 6th in Eastern Conference, 2nd in Metropolitan Division)
The Minnesota Wild attempts to stay undefeated in 2014, tonight hosting the Washington Capitals. It’s the second and final regular season meeting between the Wild and Caps, with Washington taking a home shootout win, 3-2, on Nov. 17.

Minnesota has never lost on home ice against Washington (6-0-0) and is the only club to not win a game at Xcel Energy Center.

In the Wild’s last outing, the club got back to its stingy defensive game. Well, with Washington coming to town, Minnesota needs to keep that trend. The Caps are ninth in the National Hockey League in scoring, averaging 2.85 goals per game. The visitors also have the second ranked power play in the League, firing at 25 percent.

Tonight the team closes out a four-game homestand. The Wild has posted a 15-5-2 record at Xcel Energy Center this season, winning 11 of its last 15 games and 15 of its last 20 contests on home ice.  

Today, the team placed defenseman Jared Spurgeon on Injured Reserve. He is expected to miss a few weeks with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot on Thursday.

The club also recalled forward Brett Bulmer from Iowa, the team’s American Hockey League affiliate. He’s expected to enter the lineup for Justin Fontaine, who was shaken up at practice yesterday.

Wild captain Mikko Koivu has been leading by example and in the team’s last outing, he notched his 100th career multiple-point game. He is on a four game point streak and has six points (1-5=6) during the stretch. If he scores tonight, he’ll set a season high point streak.

Yesterday, the Buffalo Sabres claimed forward Zenon Konopka after the Wild placed him on waivers on Thursday.

The Wild got a complete team effort on Thursday, topping the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1. Ten different players earned points, as Marco Scandella (2), Jason Pominville (18), Jason Zucker (1) and Kyle Brodziak (3) netted goals. Clayton Stoner returned from Injured Reserve, had five hits and was named the games Third Star. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves for his third win of the season.

On Thursday, the Caps were topped at home in overtime by the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3. Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer and Steve Oleksy scored for Washington and Philipp Grubauer made 29 saves in the loss. 
If You're Going
The Capitals are on a three game losing streak (0-1-2) and have won just three of its past 10 games. Despite the rough patch, the team has still earned points in the standings, gaining at least a point in four losses over that stretch.

Alex Ovechkin leads the League in goals with 31. His linemate, Nicklas Backstrom (spelled with a ‘c’) leads the team in points (10-35=45).
DVR tonight’s episode of Becoming Wild, which will air on FOX Sports North after the game. The episode will follow Jason Zucker back to his hometown of Las Vegas.

The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Ryan Suter recorded two assists, a plus-three rating, four shots, two blocked shots and two hits in Thursday’s win. He has four points (2-2=4) in a three-game point streak and 11 points (2-9=11) in his last 11 games.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
Bulmer | Zucker | Yeo
Preview vs. WSH
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
Bulmer will enter the lineup for Fontine:



Keith Ballard will be in for Spurgeon on the blue line:



Backstrom will get his second straight start. He’s 2-1-0 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage in three starts.
View From The Press Box
We defended better and created turnovers. You have to create situations where they’re out of posture and it’s more of a counter attack situation for us.

- Yeo on the team’s better transition offense against Buffalo
Forward Mike Rupp will be the healthy scratch.

Justin Fontaine was shaken up at practice yesterday and is expected to be out today. Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon are on Injured Reserve.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
RW Joel Ward made his NHL debut with Minnesota appearing in 11 games (2006-07). D Jack Hillen is from Minnetonka. The Caps didn’t score a goal at Xcel Energy until its third game in the building and the team’s only point in Saint Paul came in a 3-2 shootout loss on Oct. 12, 2006 (0-5-1 overall).

Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Washington will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 7 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at
Konopka Claimed By Buffalo |  From Sin City To The State Of Hockey | Five Takeaways vs BUF | Wild 5-Hole vs BUF |
  Yeo - Dec. 30
Yeo, Brodziak, Coyle, Backstrom, Prosser - Jan. 3
Photo Gallery
Wild vs BUF | Best of The First Half |
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 04 '14 WSH 3 at MIN 5 J. Zucker
Nov 07 '13 MIN 2 at WSH 3 - SO N. Backstrom
N. Backstrom42103646-32231
A. Ovechkin40311243-1732124
M. Grabovski40111930+31220
M. Johansson4262228-9051
J. Ward42121224-41241
J. Chimera4271421+02000
M. Green3951621-114620
T. Brouwer4291019-26351
E. Fehr3361117+01601
J. Carlson427815-21240
M. Erat3901515-41000
S. Oleksy332810+75301
K. Alzner42178-42001
B. Laich28437-8801
N. Schmidt28246+4600
T. Wilson42134+08510
M. Latta17134+01200
A. Volpatti32202-24000
A. Urbom20112+11900
D. Orlov16112-1400
J. Beagle22022-31200
C. Carrick3101-2600
J. Erskine17011-31800
T. Strachan9000-41900
J. Hillen2000-2000
P. Wey1000+0000
C. Wellman1000+0000
B. Holtby2813-11-2798813.08.910
P. Grubauer115-2-3233402.20.932
M. Neuvirth72-3-1192152.83.912
M. Koivu4482735-41813
J. Pominville44181129-11055
R. Suter4452429+12220
Z. Parise37151227+11882
N. Niederreiter4481321+82410
M. Granlund3131417-31211
M. Cooke4451116+72202
J. Brodin417714+01430
D. Heatley448513-141630
J. Fontaine378412+61601
C. Coyle324812-92111
J. Spurgeon4311112+61010
K. Brodziak443811+22000
M. Scandella412911+51801
T. Mitchell41178-41300
K. Ballard27066-73100
C. Stoner38044-23900
J. Zucker9202-2011
Z. Konopka36112-55500
M. Dumba13112-5210
N. Prosser18022-52800
E. Haula10022+3000
S. Veilleux16101-4600
M. Rupp8011+1500
B. Bulmer5000-2200
C. McMillan1000+0000
J. Harding2918-7-3466901.65.933
N. Backstrom184-9-2504803.15.896
D. Kuemper20-1-06166.10.625 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.

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