It’s been awhile since I’ve lit the Lighthouse lamp, so let me start off by saying I hope everyone in the State of Hockey had a safe and merry holiday. To all those outside our Wild fandom, I couldn’t care less how your holidays went.
Sorry, that was a bit harsh. I’m just getting into game mode right now because teh warm fuzzies from the last two days are gone. It’s time for the Wild to get back to business, and tonight begins a huge run of games of enormous importance.
Tonight, the Wild has a chance to extend its winning streak to a season-high four games. In order to do so, it will have to beat the Red Wings, owners of the best record in the Western Conference.
Niklas Backstrom who has won all three games during the streak and given up just one goal in each contest, will get the start tonight. Jose Theodore will get the nod tomorrow night in Columbus, presumably whether the Wild wins or not.
Nick Schultz won’t play tonight, although he has been medically cleared to play. Presumably, the Wild wants to get him back into game shape after he missed two games and had the last two days off with teams unable to take the ice for practices.
It should be an incredible atmosphere at Xcel Energy Center tonight. An overflow sellout crowd is expected. You’ve got the top team in the West in town, and they’re likely to bring in a heavy contingent of Wings fans. And, it’s the night after Christmas, which means the opening video will be the special holiday edition, which is always a fan favorite. Remember, the game starts at 6:00 p.m., but you’ll want to be in your seats with plenty of time to spare.
The intensity is going to ratchet up after this one tonight. Tomorrow, the Wild has the Columbus Blue Jackets (currently one point ahead of Minnesota) on the road. On Wednesday, the San Jose Sharks (currently seven points ahead of Minnesota) come to town. That’s followed by a New Year’s Eve game against Nashville (currently four points ahead of Minnesota and eighth in the West) and Phoenix on Sunday (currently one point ahead of the Wild).
Those are big games and a huge opportunity for advancement. That stretch will be followed by three games out East, which we all know is the inferior conference. Yeah, I said it. I told you I’m done with the holiday spirit.
Gear up Wild fans. Tonight kicks off a fun ride up the mountain.