Every game matters.
That’s been the mantra in this shortened, compacted schedule. But with only 10 games left in the season, one look at the standings and you could say that every game matters just a little bit more from here until April 27, the Wild’s final game of the regular season.
If the stakes of a tight playoff race wasn’t enough to get the juices flowing, the Wild will host the top team in the Western Conference, Chicago Blackhawks, tonight at Xcel Energy Center. Wild Head Coach said that there shouldn’t be a lack of energy or focus with the Hawks coming to the State of Hockey.
“This is the time of year when you want to be a player,” Yeo told the media after the club’s morning skate. “These are the kind of games you want to play in. When everything is so meaningful, those are fun games to play.”
“Winners don’t only want to playing in these games, they want to make a difference in these games.”
The Wild will go with the same lineup tonight as its last outing, a 3-0 win in Columbus on Sunday. That means Niklas Backstrom will get the nod in net. He’ll look to rebound against the Blackhawks, as he was pulled in the team’s last outing in Chicago on March 5, a 5-3 loss.
Trade deadline acquisition, Jason Pominville, makes his home debut tonight. Yeo thought the first line has already displayed some chemistry, along with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Pominville spoke to the media after the morning skate about coming to Minnesota, making his debut tonight and Wild’s moves to improve the team.
Charlie Coyle scored his first-career power play goal against the Blue Jackets on Sunday and has three goals in his last five games. He spoke to WildTV about getting some power play time and his recent success in the goal column.
As for injury updates, there is no timetable set for the return of veteran forwards Dany Heatley or Matt Cullen. Heatley had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder today and Yeo didn’t have an update on his status. He was injured as he tangled with Marc-Edouard Vlasic on April 3 in San Jose. Cullen is scheduled to see a doctor today, so we should know more this week.
Tonight’s game with the Blackhawks will be broadcast to a national audience, as NBC Sports Network will air the game at 7 p.m. State of Hockey Time. You can also catch the game on the radio on KFAN 100.3FM.
If you’re going to the game, check out sections 104 and 121. The Wild “Better Halves” are hosting a Mystery Hat sale at tonight’s game. A $50 purchase guarantees you a Wild autographed hat by one of the following Minnesota Wild Players, while supplies last. Proceeds benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation.