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Wild aim to end skid against Blue Jackets

by Deborah Francisco

WILD (21-14-2) at BLUE JACKETS (16-15-7)


Last 10: Minnesota 6-4-0, Columbus 6-3-1

Season series: This is the second of three meetings. The Minnesota Wild earned a 2-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan 29 at Xcel Energy Center.

Big Story: The Blue Jackets are still fighting desperately for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’ll face a Minnesota squad that is aiming to get back on track after dropping three straight games.

Team Scope:

Wild: The Wild had a day off in Columbus and are hoping the rest will help them bounce back from a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

"We have to eliminate some of the big mistakes we are making,” coach Mike Yeo said. “Two goals on line changes, that's usually something we are pretty strong on. This has been a grueling stretch, but we have a couple of days now and we have to use them the right way -- get the rest and get focused on this final stretch."

The Wild will be without Dany Heatley, who is out with a wrist injury after he was slashed by Marc-Eduard Vlassic on Wednesday. Heatley travelled with the team to Columbus, but according to the team’s official website, he may be sent back to Minnesota for re-evaluation.

Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets saw their three-game winning streak come to an end with a disappointing 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Friday. The loss was the second game in two nights for the Blue Jackets, who defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout just 24 hours earlier.

"I don't know if we were less sharp, less crisp," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "I thought effort-wise and things we wanted to accomplish in the game, we were executing."

The Blue Jackets are 11-3-3 in their past 17 games and have lost just three times in regulation since Feb. 24.

Who's hot: Rookie forward Charlie Coyle has eight points (five goals, three assists) in his first 26 games with the Wild, including a goal on Wednesday against the Sharks. … Marian Gaborik has notched three points (one goal, two assists) since donning a Blue Jackets sweater for the first time on Thursday.

Injury report: Besides Heatley, Minnesota’s Matt Cullen missed the past two games with a lower-body injury and is doubtful for Sunday’s game. Josh Harding is on the injured reserve with an ongoing illness. … The Blue Jackets could be missing forward Jared Boll (upper body) and defenseman Tim Erixon (upper body). Both are questionable for Sunday.

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