Schultz Will Return Tonight

I decided to not keep the recording of the Minnesota Wild’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings last night on a VHS tape. Instead, I taped over it this morning with VH1’s 40 Hottest Stars of the 90’s. Spoiler alert: Mark Wahlberg took home the prize.

However, I am not taping over the United States’ overtime victory over Finland on the first day of game action at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York. Word has it that there were more Canadians watching the game and cheering for the Finns than Americans. That’s okay. Three guys with Minnesota ties – Justin Faulk (South St. Paul/UMD), Jason Zucker (Wild’s second round draft pick in 2010) and Nick Bjugstad (Blaine/Minnesota) – scored the goals to silence the rabid hosers.

The US plays Slovakia on Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. and I implore you to find a place that has NHL Network (if you don’t already have it) to watch the game. These games feel as intense as the Olympics last February.

Anyway, the Wild has a chance to extinguish any lingering thoughts from last night’s game by beating on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. Of course, the Wild is one point behind the Jacks in the standings and in order to climb into the top eight, it’s going to have to leap frog teams in front. Last week, the Wild did that by going head to head with the Flames. Minnesota gets another chance tonight, and quite possibly another chance on New Year’s Eve when the Phoenix Coyotes visit.

Nick Schultz is expected back in the lineup tonight after missing three games with a head injury. Cam Barker and Brad Staubitz are also expected to return to the lineup after getting scratched. No official word on who the scratched forward will be, but Jared Spurgeon and Clayton Stoner are expected to come out.

Jose Theodore gets the start in goal for the Wild. Game is at 6:30 on Versus.

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