Wild Rolls Into Rivalry Night

The Wild has another tall order on the docket tonight as the team closes out a three-game road trip against the Detroit Red Wings. The Wild has been rolling of late, currently on a three-game win streak, the longest of the season. It is also on a three-game road win streak, also the longest of the year.

Tonight, Minnesota looks to win in regulation at Joe Louis Arena for the fist time since the advent of Twitter, which was back in 2006. If there ever was a time to end such a streak, it would be tonight as the team is playing its best hockey of the season. Minnesota is coming off a 3-1 win in Vancouver, which was the first victory in Rogers Arena since 2009. So, might as well bust two slumps on the same roadie, right?

In order to secure a victory tonight, the club will have to shut down the likes of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo talked to the media after today’s morning skate about trying to keep the pair in check.

Helping reign in the Red Wings’ offense will be netminder Niklas Backstrom. Monday’s win was his 350th NHL game and his 35-saves were a season high. The goaltender has been hotter than a redlining car motor, going 11-3-1 in his last 15 games, posting a 2.12 goals against average, a .922 save percentage. He’s also due against the Wings, going 1-4-3 in 10 games (eight starts) against Detroit.

The Wild lineup will be the same as it was on Monday against the Canucks. Mike Rupp and Tom Gilbert both skated this morning but will be sidelined tonight (Rupp a lower body and Gilbert’s ailment is undisclosed).  Nate Prosser will remain on the blue line, so tonight’s healthy scratch will be Brett Clark, who is yet to make his Wild debut.

The team’s blueliners have been playing solid hockey of late, and chipping in offensively. WildTV spoke with Clayton Stoner about the team’s blue line and what it will take to stop Detroit tonight.

Also playing well since returning to the lineup has been Pierre-Marc Bouchard. In his last three games, the winger has five points (1-4=5) and Bouchard spoke with WildTV about the team’s recent surge offensively.

A reminder, tonight’s game will be broadcast locally on NBC Sports Network as a part of the network’s Rivalry Night. To get fans involved, @NHLonNBCSports tweeted, “#RivalryNight Debate: Michigan or Minnesota… Which is the better hockey state overall?”

Come on now, we all know the answer to this one State of Hockey.


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