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Wild want to get normally reliable penalty kill clicking

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- On the surface, the Minnesota Wild's penalty kill numbers don't look bad. For the season, the team has killed off 82.2 percent of chances against it, good for 11th best in the National Hockey League.

But the Minnesota kill has been off the last two games, allowing five goals in its last eight chances against the Dallas Stars on Friday and Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

The three power-play goals allowed against the Stars amounted to the difference in the game -- a 5-3 loss that snapped the Wild's seven-game winning streak.

"Special teams is something, through the course of every game. … It's always about the next one," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "You can't go into this game thinking about what happened the last game. Obviously you want to learn about some things, but we know we're a good penalty killing team.

"There's ebbs and flows in every season. We're going through a tough stretch right now."

On Monday, Minnesota hosts the St. Louis Blues, a team scoring at a 22.4 percent clip with the man advantage -- fourth-best in the league.

Minnesota's kill will get a personnel boost tonight as forward Torrey Mitchell is back in the lineup after missing Saturday's game because of illness. Mitchell, along with Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Brodziak, have played critical roles on the penalty kill all season.

Here are the projected lineups for Monday night's game between the Blues and the Wild:


Alexander Steen - David Backes - Andy McDonald

Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart

David Perron - Vladimir Sobotka - Vladimir Tarasenko

Chris Porter - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Barret Jackman - Alex Pietrangelo

Jordan Leopold - Kevin Shattenkirk

Wade Redden - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Ian Cole, Kris Russell

Injured: T.J. Oshie (foot), Jamie Langenbrunner (hip)


Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck

Mike Rupp - Zenon Konopka - Torrey Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner - Jared Spurgeon

Tom Gilbert - Brett Clark

Niklas Backstrom

Matt Hackett

Scratched: Justin Falk, Nate Prosser

Injured: Josh Harding (illness)

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