Good afternoon, Wild fans.
As Minnesota looks to make it 16 straight wins against the Oilers at Xcel Energy Center tonight, it will do so without Casey Wellman. The 23-year-old was reassigned to Houston this morning after it was determined Chuck Kobasew’s leg is good to go for tonight’s contest.
Wellman will return to the Aeros, who clinched a spot in the AHL playoffs last night with a San Antonio loss. In addition to a bid in postseason play, congratulations are in order for some other news out of Houston today: defenseman Maxim Noreau was selected as one of six players named to this season’s AHL First All-Star Team. The 23-year-old ranks second on the Aeros and third among all AHL blueliners with 53 points (10-43=53) in 75 games this year.
Speaking of Wild prospects, it was announced today that Merrimack’s Stephane DaCosta has signed with the Ottawa Senators. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had courted DaCosta after the end of his collegiate season and it was reported the Wild was one of the finalists as the college free agent made his decision of which NHL team to sign with. If there’s any positive from the news, it’s that the Wild will have more money left in the salary cap budget as it works on other signings for next year’s roster.
As far as the current Wild roster, they’re focused on turning the good vibes from Tuesday’s win into a solid performance in front of the home crowd. Eric Nystrom was quick to bring up the subject of the Wild fanbase in his comments after this morning’s skate. See his interview here.
If the Wild was able to select a team to play to get a second straight W, it probably would go with tonight’s opponent. Minnesota has won 15 straight games against the Oilers in St. Paul. Niklas Backstrom, who start in net, is 13-0-0 with a 1.15 GAA and a .955 SV% in his career against Edmonton at Xcel Energy Center. As Cal Clutterbuck said after morning skate, “We don’t want to be the group that lets [the win streak] go tonight.”
Finally, don’t forget about the Fan Celebration festivities and “Our Favorite Things” auction at tonight’s game. I discussed the details in yesterday’s Lighthouse, so if you want more information click here and here.
Have a good afternoon. I’ll catch you in live, in-game commentary on wild.com tonight.