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Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:55 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild can wrap up playoff berth against Bruins

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild are on the verge of clinching a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight year and could wrap up the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference as early as Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.

One win or post-regulation loss in any of their final three games would get the job done. So would one regulation or post-regulation loss by the Phoenix Coyotes. Even a post-regulation win by the Coyotes would get it done.

Minnesota's magic number to clinch a berth is one point, so the number of clinching scenarios are plentiful. But coach Mike Yeo said he'd prefer to keep it as simple as possible: Win tonight against the NHL's best team and the Wild not only clinch a playoff spot, they lock in the top wild-card position.

"Hopefully the experience of last year has helped us, and I think it has," Yeo said. "We just need to concentrate on the game. That's just another one of those end results."

Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 2:46 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Penguins forward Jokinen sidelined against Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen has been ruled out Saturday against the Minnesota Wild after sustaining an upper-body injury Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

The Penguins recalled former Wild forward Andrew Ebbett from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Friday and he will play against his former team. Ebbett has 12 goals and 25 assists with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he is riding an 11-game point streak dating to March 7.

Ebbett has played in seven games with Pittsburgh this season and has one assist. He scored eight goals and 14 points in his only season with the Wild in 2009-10.

Bylsma said he didn't believe Jokinen's injury was serious and he is considered day-to-day. With the Metropolitan Division clinched and their positioning for the Stanley Cup Playoffs virtually locked, Bylsma said getting Jokinen healthy for the playoffs is the primary concern.

"It's not long-term at this point," Bylsma said.

Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 1:43 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Burrows will play against Wild for desperate Canucks

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- At the conclusion of practice Tuesday, Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella said Henrik Sedin and Alexandre Burrows would not travel for a quick two-games-in-two-nights road trip to Minnesota and Colorado.

What a difference 24 hours makes.

Though nothing changed with Sedin, Burrows not only was on the flight to the Twin Cities, but he will be in the lineup Wednesday when the Canucks play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

"He skated this morning," Tortorella said. "He is in."

Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 2:16 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Tyutin, Anisimov expected back for Blue Jackets

ST. PAUL, Minn.Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin is expected back in the lineup Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.

Tyutin has missed the past nine games after sustaining an ankle injury while playing for Russia in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"There's always a lot of excitement when you miss a lot of time," Tyutin said. "You get back with the team, in that team atmosphere. It's nice."

Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 2:00 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild continue theme of rotating defensemen

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Entering the stretch run of the regular season, Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo said Thursday he's not ready to settle in on a group of six defensemen.

Yeo has a solid top four, with Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon playing or even exceeding 30 minutes a night, and a second pairing of Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella. But when it comes to his bottom pairing, Yeo isn't ready to commit.

Instead, the Wild will continue to play musical chairs, which is what Yeo has done since returning from the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Against the New York Rangers on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center, it's Nate Prosser's turn to sit in the press box. Clayton Stoner, who sat Tuesday, will be paired with Keith Ballard, who was a healthy scratch Sunday.

"We said we were going to go through this rotation a couple of times here and just kind of re-evaluate it after that," Yeo said.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 2:07 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild's Cooke hits milestone; Oilers' Klefbom to debut

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke will play in his 1,000th NHL game Tuesday when the Wild host the Edmonton Oilers (8 p.m. ET, TSN).

Cooke will become the 286th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000 games and the fourth to do it as a member of the Wild. Prior to the game, Cooke will receive a silver stick from the Wild and a crystal from NHL executive Jim Gregory.

"I never would have guessed it way back when I started this," Cooke, 35, said. "It's been a roller coaster at times, but I'm thankful for where I'm at. It's a big accomplishment for me."

Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 3:55 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bryzgalov expected to make Wild debut

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to debut with his new team Sunday against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center.

Bryzgalov, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, was 5-8-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 20 appearances with the Oilers this season. The Wild, playing the second-half of back-to-back games, lost 4-3 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper made his 16th consecutive start in goal and the Wild will play 19 games in 36 days to finish the season.

Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 2:05 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Koivu, Scandella return for Wild against Flames

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Riding a four-game winning streak, the Minnesota Wild will get a couple of key contributors back from injury Monday when they play the Calgary Flames at Xcel Energy Center.

Captain Mikko Koivu, who has missed 17 games with a fractured ankle, and defenseman Marco Scandella, who missed three games with a sprained knee, will join a team that is already playing some of its best hockey of the season.

After road wins against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks coming out of the Olympic break, the Wild will play at home for the first time in nearly a month. With 73 points, Minnesota is seven clear of the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks for the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 4:45 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Errant puck sends Predators GM Poile to hospital

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nashville Predators general manager David Poile was hit in the head with a puck at the team's morning skate Thursday prior to the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Poile, who will serve as GM of the United States Olympic Team next week at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was taken from the locker room on a stretcher by paramedics and transported to the hospital.

Poile appeared to be groggy with a bloody nose and a black eye, but was conscious and able to walk to the stretcher with some help.

A statement released by the team said Poile "will remain in the hospital overnight for observation and evaluation, and further information will be released as it becomes available."

Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 2:30 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild prepare for last game before Olympic break

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild play their final game before the Olympic break Thursday against the Nashville Predators and the focus is squarely on not losing focus. The Predators are playing well of late and trail the Wild by eight points in the Western Conference wild-card standings.

Nashville has one more game before the break, Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks, to gain even more ground should they win Thursday.

"The way I look at it, they're probably approaching this game as their season," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "So we can't expect anything less than a playoff mentality from them. And that's the challenge that I presented to our players and said the exact same thing.

"They have another game after this. We have guys going to the Olympics, guys going on vacation. Can we be mentally tough enough to push those distractions aside and make sure that we bring the right focus, the right attitude into this game tonight?"

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