Niklas Backstrom will get the start once again tonight when the Wild plays its first true road game of the season. All Backy needs to do is pretend he’s in St. Paul, because against the Oilers at Xcel Energy Center, he’s 12-0-0 with a 1.16 goals against average in his career. In Edmonton, he’s 3-2-1 with a 2.91 GAA and he’s been pulled in four of his last eight starts there.
Somehow, PR guru Ryan Stanzel, who is in Edmonton with the team, will have to find a boombox and play “The State of Hockey Anthem.” He can hold it up in the air like John Cusack in “Say Anything.” Boom! Backy thinks he’s at Xcel Energy Center, and before long you’re looking at a Wild shutout victory.
The Wild will also go with the same lineup it used against Vancouver on Tuesday. That means Colton Gillies and Clayton Stoner will be the healthy scratches.
It’s an 8:30 p.m. start tonight. My suggestion would be to knock off a few hours early so you can go home and get some shuteye, allowing you to stay up deep into the night. Tell your boss I gave you the free pass. She’ll know what that means.