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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Pittsburgh

Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:18 PM

Kelly Erickson - Special To

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GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild (39-26-12: 90 points, 7th in Western Conference, 4th in Central Division) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (49-23-5: 103 points, 2nd in Eastern Conference, 1st in Metropolitan Division)
It feels like it’s been forever since Wild hockey played in the confines of Xcel Energy Center. Minnesotans have seen the snow blissfully start to melt away as the temperatures briefly crept towards the 50s. Only to have winter rear it’s ugly face again like a clingy ex that refuses to delete your number, dumping inches of snow on the State of Hockey yet again.

While Minnesota waits for the sight of grass once again, at least the Wild finally return home for a four-game road trip, hosting the Penguins tonight.

After opening the road trip with a tough loss in St. Louis, the Wild earned points in the final three games — notching wins against Phoenix and Los Angeles and forcing the shootout point in Chicago.

In each of those three games, Minnesota used third-period comebacks to earn crucial points in the Playoff Picture, showing just how much drive it has and how it can hang with any team. In its last nine games, the Wild has outscored its opponent in the third, 16-7. Overall, it ranks T-7th in the NHL with 77 third-period goals, while allowing 63, the sixth-fewest in the league. Currently, Minnesota is on pace to outscore its opponents in the third period for the first time since 2008-09.

In the Wild’s most recent third-period comeback Thursday night, Erik Haula netted a game-tying goal with 1:54 left on the clock, ultimately forcing extra hockey with Chicago. Charlie Coyle opened the scoring in the first while netminder Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves on the night. He allowed just one goal during the shootout while Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford blanked the Wild for the second point.

Bryzgalov is expected to make his fourth-straight start tonight as Darcy Kuemper is still nursing an upper-body injury. Bryzgalov is 4-0-3 with the Wild this season with a 2.11 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and one shutout. He is 5-2-2 with a 2.61 GAA, .913 SV% and one shutout in 11 career starts against the Penguins.

Cody McCormick and Nino Niederreiter will step back into the lineup tonight. McCormick will play center for the first time for the Wild, on the fourth line with Stephane Veilleux and Niederreiter on his wings. Niederreiter missed Thursday's showdown with Chicago for precautionary health reasons after leaving Monday's tilt with the Kings early. This will mark McCormicks first appearnce after being a healthy scratch for three-straight games.

The Penguins were also in action Thursday night, upending the Jets 4-2. Beau Bennett, Craig Adams, Paul Martin and Brian Gibbons tallied goals for Pittsburgh in a come-from-behind effort after facing a 2-1 deficit. Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made 13 saves on the night for the win.
If You're Going
With their win against the Jets Thursday night, the Penguins clinched the Metropolitan Division title. With 102 points on the season so far, they are second only to Boston’s 111 points in the Eastern Confernce.

Sid the Kid hit the century point mark this season with a secondary assist Tuesday night as Pittsburgh fell to Carolina 4-1. It’s the fifth time in his career Crosby has notched 100 points in a season. He added two assists against the Jets for his team-leading 102 points.
Bring school supplies to drop off at Gates 1-5 as part of the Wild’s Bic School Supply Drive, benefitting the Kids In Need Foundation. Also, the Wild Foundation is holding its final Mystery Puck sale of the season. A $40 purchase guarantees you a Wild puck autographed from a selection of Wild players. For more details on both events, click here.

The Wild will wear its GREEN sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Charlie Coyle has six points in his last seven games, totaling seven points (4-3=7) in that span.

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
Yeo |
Preview: Wild vs. Pittsburgh
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
Cody McCormick and Nino Niederreiter are expected to step back into the lineup tonight:


The blue line will remain the same:

Bryzgalov is 5-2-2 with a 2.61 GAA, .913 SV% and one shutout in 11 career starts against the Penguins
View From The Press Box
I'd really prefer to throw that last road trip behind us. It was impressive getting five out of our last six ... but it means really nothing right now. Coming back home we have to make sure we don't have any kind of let down. Obviously playing a great opponent tonight should provide us with an opportunity to make sure our focus is in the right place.

-Yeo on the Wild's recent success
Forwards Dany Heatley, Mike Rupp, Jake Dowell and blueliner Christian Folin will be the scratches tonight. Defenseman Keith Ballard and Clayton Stoner both have lower-body injuries. Kuemper and Granlund have upper-body injuries.

Forward Jason Zucker (surgery) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) are on Injured Reserve. Niklas Backstrom is shutdown for the remainder of the season.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Sidney Crosby played at Shattuck St. Mary’s (2002-03). Pascal Dupuis recorded 141 points (67-74=141) in 334 games during six seasons with the Wild (2000-06). Andrew Ebbett skated in 49 games with Minnesota dur¬ing the 2009-10 season. Paul Martin is from Minneapolis and played at the University of Minnesota. Matt Niskanen is from Virginia and played at the University of Minnesota Duluth (2005-07). Seven different goalies have dressed in a game for the Wild this season, tied with Buffalo for second-most in the NHL this season behind Edmonton’s eight. Despite the number of goalies used, Minnesota ranks sixth in the NHL in goals against (186) and goals-against average (2.42) and T-13th with a .913 save percentage.

Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Penguins 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   
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Yeo Postgame at CHI | Parise Postgame at CHI | Brodziak Postgame at CHI | Haula Postgame at CHI |
  Wild 2, CHI 3 (SO) |
Photo Gallery
Wild at Chicago | A Season In Hugs
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
S. Crosby783666102+1646115
E. Malkin60234972+106273
C. Kunitz76353267+2764138
J. Neal55243155+135394
J. Jokinen77183553+101654
M. Niskanen78103242+325136
L. Stempniak69112233-173201
O. Maatta7592029+91431
M. Goc74111425-73501
B. Sutter78111324-61211
P. Dupuis3971320+6800
K. Letang3410818-61461
B. Gibbons3751015+4210
J. Vitale5311314-12901
P. Martin3531013-3812
B. Orpik7021113-34600
D. Engelland546612-55601
T. Glass634812-98300
C. Adams785611-144400
R. Bortuzzo5201010-37400
J. Megna33549+1202
B. Bennett17336+0001
T. Pyatt53415-222011
C. Conner19415-3200
S. Despres32055+42400
R. Scuderi49044-8200
C. Kobasew32202+11502
H. Zolnierczyk11202+0800
D. Jeffrey10011-2200
M. D'Agostini8011-1400
A. Ebbett8011-3000
B. Dumoulin6011+1400
Z. Sill20000-41200
P. Samuelsson5000-1000
P. Letourneau-Leblond1000+0000
N. Drazenovic1000-1200
M. Fleury6137-18-414116752.35.916
J. Zatkoff1912-6-1495492.66.911
J. Pominville78272754+21665
Z. Parise63282553+1326135
M. Koivu61113950+12224
M. Moulson71222648-13094
R. Suter7873542+143030
M. Granlund6383341-32222
N. Niederreiter77132134+104021
C. Coyle66111829-53321
D. Heatley75121527-191842
M. Cooke78101626+55403
J. Spurgeon6452025+151421
K. Brodziak7861622-36101
J. Fontaine6313821+62211
J. Brodin7581119+12030
M. Scandella7231417+101801
E. Haula425611+112701
K. Ballard45279-73700
T. Mitchell58189-32100
N. Prosser49257+25602
C. McCormick39257-45000
J. Zucker21415+2211
C. Stoner62145-68200
S. Veilleux31303-22100
Z. Konopka36112-55500
M. Dumba13112-5210
M. Rupp12011+11300
J. Blum11000-1000
B. Bulmer5000-2200
C. McMillan1000+0000
J. Dowell1000-1000
J. Harding2918-7-3466901.65.933
D. Kuemper2612-8-4607022.43.915
I. Bryzgalov2910-8-8738222.66.911
N. Backstrom215-11-2555463.02.899 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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