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Wild at Panthers preview

Kahkonen to make second NHL start for Minnesota; Driedger in goal again for Florida

by Alain Poupart / Independent Correspondent

WILD (12-11-4) at PANTHERS (13-8-5)

7 p.m. ET; FS-F, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV


The Game

Goalies Kaapo Kahkonen and Chris Driedger will each make his second NHL start when the Minnesota Wild visit the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Tuesday.

Kahkonen, a 23-year-old rookie, made 32 saves for the Wild in his NHL debut, a 3-2 win at the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 26.

Driedger, who has played one game in each of his four NHL seasons, made 27 saves for the Panthers in his first League start, a 3-0 victory against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Minnesota, looking for its fourth consecutive win, will try to extend its nine-game point streak (6-0-3), the second-longest active run in the NHL behind the Boston Bruins' 11-game point streak (8-0-3).

Florida, 1-3-0 in their past four games after going 5-1-0 in their previous six games, will play the second of a nine-game homestand, the longest in its history.


Players to watch

Wild forward Zach Parise has five points (four goals, one assist) in a four-game goal/point streak.

Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle led all NHL players at his position in assists during November (14) and was tied for first in points (15).


They said it

"There's guys who are used to playing 19, 20 minutes a game who aren't playing 19, 20 minutes now. They've got to get accustomed to that. If we weren't having success, I'd probably hear about it more. But when you're having success a little bit, it's hard to gripe about it." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

"The key to replicating is just playing a complete game. It's nice when everything clicks like that and we get a great performance in net; everything just starts to roll. It's a good full-team effort. We tried to replicate it on the ice at practice. I think we're all feeling good and confident going into our game against Minnesota." -- Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad


Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Mats Zuccarello

Zach Parise -- Mikko Koivu -- Kevin Fiala

Jordan Greenway -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Luke Kunin

Marcus Foligno -- Victor Rask -- Ryan Hartman

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Carson Soucy -- Brad Hunt

Kaapo Kahkonen

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Ryan Donato, Devan Dubnyk, Nick Seeler

Injured: Greg Pateryn (core muscle surgery)


Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Brett Connolly -- Vincent Trocheck -- Denis Malgin

Frank Vatrano -- Brian Boyle -- Mike Hoffman

Dominic Toninato -- Noel Acciari -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

MacKenzie Weegar -- Anton Stralman

Mike Matheson -- Mark Pysyk

Chris Driedger

Sergei Bobrovsky

Scratched: Josh Brown

Injured: Jayce Hawryluk (upper body)


Status report

Pateryn, who had surgery Oct. 1, was assigned to Iowa of the American Hockey league on Monday for a conditioning assignment. … Hawryluk will miss his 14th straight game.


Stat pack

Minnesota's point streak is tied for fourth-longest in its history; its most recent nine-game point streak was Nov. 28-Dec. 17, 2015 (6-0-3). … Fiala has six points (two goals, four assists) in a season-long five-game point streak. … Florida's 5-2 loss against Buffalo on Nov. 24 was the only time in 12 home games it did not score at least three goals.

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