Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck skated this morning for the first time since taking a low blow from Edmonton forward Taylor Hall on Feb. 21, though it wasn’t at the team’s pregame practice, as Minnesota hosts the Oilers tonight. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that Clutterbuck took the ice before the team’s skate.
This will be the first time that the Wild and Oilers have squared off since the Hall hit. The Oilers’ forward was ejected from that contest and was suspended for two games by the National Hockey League. If the Wild was looking for any playground justice, the team will have to wait, as Hall is considered day-to-day after suffering an undisclosed lower body injury on Friday and will not be in the lineup tonight. He didn’t finish the game as the Oilers lost to the St. Louis Blues, 4-2.
Niklas Backstrom will get the nod in net and has been sizzling of late going 5-1-1 in his last seven starts with a 1.66 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. He’s been even hotter against the Oilers at home, amassing a perfect 16-0-0 with a 1.30 goals against average and a .950 save percentage.
Mikael Granlund will be back in the lineup and centers Dany Heatley and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. The trio played together in Phoenix on Saturday and looked pretty good together. Justin Falk will also reenter the lineup for Nate Prosser. The Wild’s other healthy scratch will be Zenon Konopka.
Game time is 7 p.m. State of Hockey Time and the first 5,000 fans in attendance will get a Niklas Backstrom magnet, so get to Xcel Energy Center early and be loud. Be very, very loud.