The Minnesota Wild’s home preseason opener will be all about the debut of Mikko Koivu and his new linemates, Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. All three players will be featured in a gameday video on today’s game preview, and all touch on the developing chemistry that can only get better in games.
If you can’t be at Xcel Energy Center to see them in person, Wild.com will be carrying the live video streaming of the game.
The other feel good story tonight will be the return of goaltender Josh Harding. Yes, he’s already played a period and a half thus far this preseason, but this will be the first game at Xcel Energy Center that he’s played since March 21, 2010, a win over the Calgary Flames.
It will also be the first time fans can get a look at his new mask, which offers a tribute to his late grandmother, Rosemary, with a rose on one side. On the back of the mask are tributes to his friends and teammates, Derek Boogaard, Pavol Demitra and Rick Rypien.
The Wild made one more cut today, sending tryout forward Taylor Peters to Portland of the Western Hockey League. Peters appeared in last night’s 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues, and was also a member of the Wild’s Traverse City Tournament team.
Following the game tonight, the Wild will jet out to Pittsburgh for a matinee game against the Penguins. Here is the expected lineup for that one:
Taffe – Warren Peters – Ortmeyer
DiSalvatore – McIntyre – TBD
Penner – TBD
Backstrom and Endras
Players told to be ready to go include Carson McMillan, Brad Staubitz, Brett Bulmer, Marco Scandella and Kris Fredheim.
One note for fans who are coming to tonight’s game and live in the South Metro. After 7:00 p.m. tonight, I-35E Southbound will be reduced to a single lane, and ramps onto I-35E will begin to be closed at 9:00 p.m. MnDot has more information here. Fans should keep this in mind when they’re heading home and plan some alternate routes. Put those GPS machines to good use.