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Minnesota
Wild
38-36-8
Pittsburgh
Penguins
22-46-14

32 SOG
22 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
MIN
PIT
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Wild-Penguins Preview

Thursday, 12.08.2005 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

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Wild-Penguins Preview
Minnesota Wild vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Wild-Penguins Preview

GAME: Minnesota Wild (10-12-4) at Pittsburgh Penguins (7-14-6).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without Mario Lemieux as they host the Minnesota Wild at Mellon Arena.

The owner and Hall of Fame center was hospitalized Wednesday for observation of an irregular heartbeat. His condition is being monitored at a Pittsburgh-area hospital, where he was scheduled to stay at least one night.

"We thought the best precaution was to have him enter the hospital for observation," Pittsburgh general manager Craig Patrick said.

He added Lemieux reported having an irregular heartbeat after Wednesday's practice.

The 40-year-old center sat out games Nov. 16 and 27 for what was described as a stomach virus. There is no official word whether that ailment, which Lemieux said lingered for days, is related to his current condition.

Lemieux will be missing from a Penguins lineup that has lost five straight games and scored just six goals in their last four contests.

Rookie Sidney Crosby scored his 13th goal of the season Saturday, but the Penguins lost 3-2 to the Calgary Flames.

Pittsburgh also was hurt on a questionable goal by Calgary's Marcus Nilson in the first period.

The 20-foot wrist shot by Nilson hit the crossbar, deflected off the near post and hit the goal line but did not appear to completely cross it. The puck was dropped to resume play before a video review awarded the Flames the goal.

"It was a one-goal game and they got a freebie," Lemieux said following Saturday's loss. "But we had enough time to come back."

Like the Penguins, the Wild have scored just six goals in their last four games and hope to end a four-game losing streak.

The Wild have dropped five straight road games, but they have four wins and a tie in six all-time meetings with the Penguins, outscoring them 21-11.

Wild goaltender Manny Fernandez has a league-leading .934 save percentage, and his 2.01 goals-against average trails only Dominik Hasek of the Ottawa Senators (1.99). Teammate Dwayne Roloson also ranks among the league's top 10 with a 2.52 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Minnesota could use an offensive spark from franchise scoring leader Marian Gaborik, who returned Nov. 23 from hip and groin injuries. He scored goals in his first two games after the month-long layoff, but has just one assist during the current losing streak.

Pascual Dupuis scored the lone goal for the Wild in a 3-1 defeat Monday to the New York Rangers.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 7): Wild - 24 points, 5th place, 14 PB, Northwest Division. Penguins - 20 points, 5th place, 20 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Brian Rolston, 10 goals; Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 13 assists; Rolston and Bouchard, 20 points; Derek Boogaard, 55 PIM. Penguins - Crosby, 13 goals and 29 points; Zigmund Palffy, 18 assists; Brooks Orpik, 42 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 7): Wild - Power play: 18.5 percent (26 for 140), 12th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 88.6 percent (133 for 150), 1st. Penguins - Power play: 15.9 percent (29 for 182), 20th. Penalty killing: 78.7 percent (141 for 179), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Fernandez (7-3-3, 0 SO, 2.01 GAA); Roloson (3-9-1, 1, 2.52). Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury (1-4-1, 0, 3.08); Jocelyn Thibault (1-7-2, 0, 4.38).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Wild, 2-0-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 16, 2004; Wild, 4-2. At St. Paul, Minn., the Wild fell behind 2-0 before scoring four third-period goals.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 3-8-3 on the road; Penguins - 3-7-3 at home.


Associated Press
2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 08 '05MIN 5 at PIT 0M. Gaborik
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%