Minnesota Wild (2-1-0: 4 points, T-2nd in Western Conference, 1st in Northwest Division) vs. Detroit Red Wings (1-2-0: 2 points, T-10th in Western Conference, 5th in Central Division)
Another one of the Wild’s prized draft picks is expected to go from prospect to NHL player tonight.
The Wild’s first pick (10th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Jonas Brodin will likely slip on a Wild sweater for the first time, as Minnesota takes on the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. It will be the Wild’s first road game after starting the season with three-straight home games.
Brodin will replace Jared Spurgeon, who is out of action with a lower body injury after blocking a shot against Nashville on Tuesday. The blueliner will make his NHL debut after starting the season with the Houston Aeros, Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate. The 19-year-old suffered an upper body injury in early November, and returned to the Aeros on Wednesday. In nine games with Houston, Brodin scored four points (2-2=4). He’ll wear number 25 with the Wild.
On Tuesday, the Wild suffered its first loss of the season to the Nashville Predators, 3-1. The Wild was first on the board, as Dany Heatley scored his third goal of the season. Heatley walked around the slot and fired a wrist shot from the top of the circles that was redirected on its way past Preds goaltender Chris Mason. Initially, the goal was credited to Zach Parise, but actually deflected off a Nashville defender and credited to Heatley. Both Parise and Clayton Stoner were credited with the assists. Niklas Backstrom made 23 saves in the losing effort. Nashville goals came in off the sticks of Nick Spaling, Martin Erat and David Legwand iced the game with 17 second remaining.
The Red Wings were defeated in its home opener by the Dallas Stars, 2-1, on Tuesday. Michael Ryder scored both of the Stars’ goals, while Damien Brunner scored his first NHL goal for Detroit.
Last season, the Wild and Wings split the series with two wins apiece. This season, Detroit will look a little different than its championship teams past. Surefire Hall of Famer, Nicklas Lidstrom retired over the summer, and pesky net-front specialist Tomas Holmstrom officially hung up the skates earlier this week.
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|With the retirement of longtime captain Lidstrom, the Wings gave the “C” to Henrik Zetterberg, who has been one of the NHL’s most consistent offensive threats over the last decade. Along with Zetterberg, the Wings boast arguably the most creative player in the NHL during the last 10 years, Pavel Datsyuk. |
Looking to help fill the gap left by Lidstrom on the blue line is Niklas Kronwall. He is one of the league’s best two-way defenders, setting a career high in goals last season with 15.
It’s Fathead Friday at Joe Louis Arena. All fans in attendance will get a Fathead wall poster of Henrik Zetterberg.
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|Dany Heatley has been so hot—other team’s players are putting in pucks for him. As was the case against Nashville, when Heatley fired a wrister from the top of the circle and Kevin Klein tried to glove the puck down, but ended up redirecting it past his goaltender. The forward has a point in each game this season totalling three goals and an assist. |
Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.
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|The forwards will remain the same as the first three games: |
Parise – Koivu – Heatley
Cullen – Granlund – Setoguchi
Bouchard – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Mitchell – Konopka – Powe
The Brodin will take the place of Spurgeon, shuffling the pairings:
Suter – Gilbert
Brodin – Stoner
Falk – Prosser
Josh Harding started all four games against the Wings last season and went 2-1-1 with a 2.60 goals against average, a .930 save percentage and one shutout.
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|The celling is very high. You see the way he skates, and you see his composure with the puck. He can do things at a very high level…We do have to be fair with our expectations and give him enough time to get adjusted to the league and the pace and playing against the world's best players. |
- Yeo on Brodin's potential and expectations coming into tonight's game
|Forward Matt Kassian and 18-year-old defenseman Matt Dumba are tonight's healthy scratches. |
Josh Spurgeon is out with a lower body injury, suffered while blocking a shot against Nashville.
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|Forward Patrick Eaves went to high school at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault. ||The Wild has outshot its opponents, 97-77, this season. It is the first time in franchise history Minnesota has started the season by outshooting its opponents in each of its first three games, and the most recent string of three straight games outshooting its opponent since Nov. 19-25, 2011. |
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|Wild vs. Red Wings will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 6:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com. |
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