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Top Guns To Skate Saturday Night

by Kelly Erickson / Minnesota Wild

While Wild has checked off two preseason games, some players have yet to see any game action.

As Ryan Suter put it, days on days of practice is starting to feel like "Groundhog Day"—a classic I’ll admit I’ve never seen.

The Wild’s big guys—Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, Jonas Brodin and Suter of course—will get in their first preseason game Saturday night as Winnipeg comes to town.

By no means will they deny the importance of the game. For the players it’s about getting in game shape. As much as they can skate, scrimmage, do drills, and shell their goalies with shots in practice, it simply doesn’t compare to getting in some game action.

Saturday night will also mark the first time Parise, Koivu and Pominville will get to test their new line against an actual opponent. While the line’s chemistry has been apparent in the practice and scrimmages it will get its first game test, one that will give them a good sense of just how ready they are for the season, according to Parise.

To no one’s surprise Suter and Brodin will anchor the blueline together again this season, and will clock their first shift Saturday night as well. WildTV caught up with Pairse, Koivu and the top d-pair about tomorrow’s game, which will be posted later today.

Bench boss Mike Yeo noted after practice Friday that goaltender Niklas Backstrom is expected to play the full 60 minutes tomorrow, and from this point forward Backstrom and Josh Harding will be the main guys in net, despite Darcy Kuemper getting in some solid shutout minutes through the first two games.

While a good portion of Wild regulars is expected to play Yeo said Matt Cooke, Kyle Brodziak and Torrey Mitchell will have the night off. Cooke played Tuesday while both Brodziak and Mitchell saw action both Tuesday and Thursday.

Speaking of Thursday’s game, Wild fans can catch all the action from the 4-1 win in Winnipeg, although they may want to set those DVRs. NHL Network will re-air the game at 1 a.m. tonight.

Fans can also look forward to the “Wild Season Preview” on FOX Sports North. After the Twins game on September 23 (estimating around 10:30 p.m.), fans can get a look at this year’s squad and what they can expect from the new Central Division.

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