Hello, State of Hockey Legion!
The Wild closes out a three-game homestand, tonight against the Columbus House Coats, also known as the Blue Jackets. Minnesota looks to snap a two-game skid and needs to add some offense, as the team has been shutout during the two losses.
Forward Jason Zucker was recalled yesterday from the Houston Aeros, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate. Zucker leads the Aeros with 24 goals, ranks tied for first on the team with 50 points (24-26=50) in 55 games. The 21-year-old was named to the 2012-13 AHL All-Rookie Team on Wednesday.
Minnesota will change things up for tonight’s game against Columbus. Here’s what the lines will look like to start: Koivu, Parise, Coyle; Pominville, Brodziak, Bouchard; Zucker, Granlund, Setoguchi; and Mitchell, Rupp, Clutterbuck. After not finishing the game in the team’s last outing, Ryan Suter will skate on the blue line with Jonas Brodin. Jared Spurgeon will be with Brett Clark and Clayton Stoner will be paired with Tom Gilbert.
Niklas Backstrom will get the start in net. He’s been a Columbus killer this season, going 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals against average, a .962 save percentage and one shutout.
Matt Cullen skated this morning, but will be scratched tonight (lower-body) and Dany Heatley will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing successful shoulder surgery. Defensemen Brett Clark and Justin Falk will be tonight's healthy scratches.
The Wild wears its Iron Range Red sweaters, while Columbus dons its road whites with star-swirl logo.
Follow the action online over on Twitter at @mnwildLIVE.
Away we go!
Period 1 - MIN 1, CBJ 0
After the Wild dominated the opening period and fired 15 shots on goal, while holding Columbus to six. But it took a little puck luck to get the puck past a hot Sergei Bobrovsky.
Brett Clark fired a puck from the point and Pierre-Marc Bouchard tipped the puck on net. Bobrovsky made the save, but the puck bounced off a Columbus defender and into the net. Pominville added the second assist on the play.
Charlie Coyle was ejected and given a match penalty 17 seconds into the game for contact to the head after a hit on Artem Anisimov.
The Wild played a solid period and ended a scoreless streak ends of 137:24. Now it's time to build on that and pop home a few more in the final two.
Period 2 - MIN 1, CBJ 2
Well, even though the Wild outshot the Blue Jackets, 10-8, in the middle frame Columbus was the team that cracked the scoreboard.
Vinny Prospal had a strong period, getting the Jackets on the board. Receiving the puck in the slot, he snapped home a nice centering pass from Brandon Dubinsky. Dalton Prout picked up the second assist on the play.
Columbus took the lead after a good forecheck cycling in the Wild's end. Prospal set up Fedor Tyutin, who blasted a slap shot through the legs of Backstrom. Dubinsky was given the second assist.
The Wild will skate from behind, but I have a feeling Bobrovsky is going to get tired and Minnesota is going to get a few past him.
Period 3 - MIN 2, CBJ 2
Well, it took everything that period, but the Wild tied it up to send the game into overtime.
Jason Pominville scored his first goal at home on the power play on a Ryan Suter rebound from the point. Parise added an assist on the play.
And here comes OT!
Overtime - MIN 2, CBJ 2
Both teams had opportunities, but no scoring so we'll head to a shootout.
Shootout - MIN 2, CBJ 3
Parise is up first but Bobrovsky gloves his backhand attempt
Letestu goes shelf on Backstrom's glove side
Koivu makes a nice move but Bobrovsky makes a split save on the goal line
Atkinson ends it with a nice forehand-backhand-forehand move
Wild earns a much-needed point