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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Edmonton

Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 12:58 PM

Mike Doyle - Managing Editor

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Edmonton
Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (25-19-5: 55 points, 8th in Western Conference, 4th in Central Division) vs. Edmonton Oilers (15-29-5: 35 points, 14th in Western Conference, 7th in Pacific Division)
With this season’s National Hockey League realignment, the Minnesota Wild will see a lot less of its former Northwest Division rivals. Still, it seems a little strange that midway through January will be the first time the club hosts the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite being realigned in different divisions, like a crazy ex, the Wild and Oilers have a lot of history, so it’s somewhat fitting that the Wild will play the 1,000th regular-season game in franchise history against the Oilers. Minnesota is 23-11-2 at Xcel Energy Center against the Oilers. Last season, the Wild won the season series 3-1-0. However, Minnesota’s lone loss against Edmonton came at home with a chance to clinch home ice. On the second-to-last day of the regular season, the Oil skated away with a 6-1 win and forced the Wild to earn a post-season appearance on the final day of the season. So, tonight’s tilt will have that recent history as the backdrop.

The Wild has been hit with a string of injuries lately, but is inching closer to returning some of its key contributors. Yesterday, forward Zach Parise skated with the team for the first time since going on Injured Reserve on Dec. 22, missing 11 games. There is no timetable on his return, but the forward was positive speaking to the media and is hopeful he can start to participate in contact drills soon. Goaltender Josh Harding also has skated with the team for the last few days. The netminder has been on IR since Jan. 2 and looks to regain his timing and adjust to game speed with repetition of practice.

Despite the good news around the club, Minnesota will focus on the players in the lineup. This is the team’s eighth game in 15 days and held a much-needed optional practice yesterday. Tonight, defenseman Keith Ballard is expected to re-enter the lineup and will be partnered with Clayton Stoner. 

The Oilers come to Saint Paul a day after making a pair of moves. Edmonton delt goaltender Devan Dubnyk to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Blaine native and former St. Cloud State Husky Matt Hendricks, then acquired goalie Ben Scrivens from the Los Angeles Kings for a third-round pick in the 2014 Draft.

The Wild suffered a shutout loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, 3-0. Making his third start in a week, Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves in the losing effort.

Edmonton is coming off a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Dallas Stars. Justin Schultz and Sam Gagner scored for the Oilers and Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves in the loss. 
If You're Going
Scrivens will be reunited with Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins, who coached the goaltender with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey Leauge before being hired by the club last summer.

Hendricks will add a veteran presence n the locker room. He’s skated in 307 NHL games, totaling 62 points (29-33=62). 
The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a Dany Heatley bobblehead. If you follow @mnwild on Twitter, you’ll be privy to some all-star caliber tweets priming the giveaway.

The Wild will wear its RED sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Heatley scored his 63rd career game-winning goal Sunday in Nashville. He has totaled four points (1-3=4) and a plus-3 rating in his last three games. He ranks T-4th on the Wild with nine goals this season.

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 | Ballard | Fontaine | Coyle
PONDcast
Coming Soon
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The forward lines will remain the same:

Heatley-Coyle-Zucker
Niederreiter-Granlund-Pominville
Cooke-Brodziak-Fontaine
Mitchell-Haula-Veilleux

Ballard will come in for Blum on the blue line:

Suter-Brodin
Scandella-Prosser
Stoner-Ballard
Darcy Kuemper will make his third-straight start and his first against the Oilers.
View From The Press Box
What we've got to make sure is we don't sit around and wait for him…We've got to make sure we're ready to bounce back.

- Yeo on Parise skating with the team yesterday
Defenseman Jonathon Blum and forward Mike Rupp will be tonight’s healthy scratches.

Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon are all listed on IR with lower-body injuries. Josh Harding joins them due to illness.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Nick Schultz spent parts of 10 seasons with the Wild (2001-12) and is the franchise leader in games played (743), seventh in assists and 11th in scoring (26-102=128). He was selected 33rd overall by Minnesota in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Ryan Jones was selected by the Wild in the fourth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Matt Hendricks is a native of Blaine and went to SCSU (2000-04). The Wild is 456-400-143 through 999 games, including a 266-159-75 home record and a 190-241-68 road record. The Wild’s 18 wins in Edmonton and 41 wins overall are the most against any franchise.


Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Edmonton 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 Wild.com.      
Wild.com
Wild's Best Of The Web | Wild Prospects Report | Living The Dream | Northstar College Cup Primer | Spirit In A Sled | Five Takeaways vs. OTT | Wild 5-Hole vs. OTT |
WildTV
Yeo - Jan. 15 | Parise - Jan. 15
PONDcast
Yeo, Parise - Jan. 15
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. OTT | Best of The First Half | A Season In Hugs |
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 11 '14EDM 4 at MIN 3 - SOT. Hall
Feb 27 '14MIN 3 at EDM 0M. Granlund
Jan 16 '14EDM 1 at MIN 4N. Prosser
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
T. Hall43182745-151640
J. Eberle49152338-12842
R. Nugent-Hopkins48132336-151043
D. Perron46171734-64872
A. Hemsky4871724-111611
J. Schultz4251520-181200
S. Gagner3761319-212711
M. Arcobello3841418-4811
N. Yakupov479817-312840
B. Gordon448816-111211
R. Smyth4061016-132231
J. Petry483811-152600
A. Ference502810-54900
A. Belov42156-103000
P. Larsen16156-6600
R. Jones31235+03101
M. Hendricks45224-65400
L. Gazdic43224-37800
W. Acton23213-11400
N. Schultz48033-162000
C. Potter12033-12100
J. Joensuu27202-151210
T. Fedun4202-1000
L. Smid17112-61600
T. Pitlick3101+0000
B. Eager7011+1200
D. Grebeshkov7011+0200
M. Marincin12000+1800
A. Lander12000-3000
M. Brown8000+11900
B. Hunt3000-3000
R. Horak2000-1000
R. Hamilton2000-2000
L. Omark1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
D. Dubnyk3211-17-2948853.36.894
B. Scrivens207-6-4364972.09.928
I. Bryzgalov143-7-2424293.27.902
J. LaBarbera71-3-0191463.28.870
R. Bachman30-2-17833.02.916
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Koivu4482735-41813
J. Pominville50191433-21055
R. Suter5052530+42420
Z. Parise37151227+11882
N. Niederreiter5091625+102610
M. Cooke5061420+93202
M. Granlund3731720-21611
D. Heatley509918-111631
J. Fontaine4312517+101811
C. Coyle3861117-62111
K. Brodziak5041115+72401
J. Brodin477714+11630
M. Scandella4731114+91801
J. Spurgeon4311112+61010
T. Mitchell47178-61300
K. Ballard29066-73100
J. Zucker15404+4011
N. Prosser24134+22801
C. Stoner44044-34600
Z. Konopka36112-55500
M. Dumba13112-5210
E. Haula16022+1400
S. Veilleux22101-51500
M. Rupp8011+1500
B. Bulmer5000-2200
J. Blum4000+0000
C. McMillan1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Harding2918-7-3466901.65.933
N. Backstrom205-10-2545373.02.899
D. Kuemper63-2-0111322.17.917
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