The Minnesota Wild looks to keep things sunny in Philadelphia. The Wild sails into the City of Brotherly love on a three-game win streak, tonight facing the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
The start of the game will be pivotal for Minnesota, as the Flyers are coming off a 2-0 loss on the road last night against the New York Rangers. The Wild has failed to score the first goal in four-straight road games, but would like to buck that trend.
“That’s the main key…especially on the road, get a good start and put the pressure on them,” forward Justin Fontaine said.
After stringing together a few wins in games past, Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said things turned stale amongst the forward lines. To counteract stagnation and keep things on edge, the Wild will roll out a few line changes against the Flyers. Fontaine moves to the wing alongside Mikael Granlund and the red-hot Nino Niederreiter, who has four goals in his last three games.
“He’s good at finding those little soft areas, main focus is to create space for each other and attack the net,” Fontaine said. “Things will open up.”
Charlie Coyle shifts to center between Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that any time the Wild needed to get someone going offensively, he’s put Coyle on the line; a high compliment for the 22-year-old. He will try the method again tonight, but Yeo also hopes Coyle can take over a line of his own.
“Skill guys have to play with skill players,” Yeo said. “We have to get some more scoring throughout our lineup.”
Stu Bickel will enter the lineup on the wing with Erik Haula and Ryan Carter. Philadelphia is a big team and Yeo liked the physical element Bickel brought to the team in its last road game in Dallas.
Darcy Kuemper will get the nod in net. It’s his first time facing the Flyers. The netminder is 8-5-0 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .914 save percentage this season.
Two-Thirds Of Doom Honored
Before the contest, the Flyers will honor two members of the famed Legion of Doom Line, Eric Lindros and John LeClair. The forwards will enter into the Flyers’ Hall of Fame.
LeClair was a three-time, 50-goal scorer in Philly and cracked 40 twice. Yeo had a chance to coach LeClair, as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I’m really happy for him,” Yeo said. “It was when I first came into the League, so you get an opportunity to work with a guy like that and you see what a pro he is.”
Lindros was one of the most-hyped NHL prospects before entering the League in 1992-93. The power forward won the Hart Trophy as League MVP in the lockout shortened 1994-95 season. Yeo also has some experience with Lindros.
“I had the misfortune of having to play against Lindros in junior,” Yeo said. “He was just a man amongst boys.”