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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Boston

Wild will celebrate its fans in home finale on Thursday in St. Paul

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe /
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (37-34-9) vs. Boston Bruins (48-23-9)

Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

ST. PAUL -- The Wild wraps up the home portion of its schedule on Thursday night when a familiar face makes his return to Xcel Energy Center. Charlie Coyle will play his first game against his former club, as the Wild hosts the Boston Bruins. 

Minnesota traded Coyle to Boston on Feb. 20 and acquired forward Ryan Donato and a fifth-round draft pick in return. 

It's a deal that has seemed to benefit both sides. 

Video: Bruce Boudreau practice update

The Wild has a 22-year-old forward that has been the NHL's most productive rookie since that deal was consummated, scoring four goals and chipping in 12 assists in a brilliant first 20 games. 

Boston acquired a veteran who has position flexibility, has playoff experience and fits perfectly inside its dressing room. Coyle has two goals and six points in 19 games since the trade. 

"[It'll be a little strange] just being on the other end of things, knowing a lot of guys out there," Coyle said. "But I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone, playing against everyone. I'm excited, it'll be fun."

Minnesota was eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday, despite a dominating 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild's long-shot playoff odds required it to win each of its final three games with Colorado losing each of its final three and Arizona losing twice.

The Wild was eliminated when Colorado won 6-2 over Edmonton later in the night on Tuesday.

But that doesn't mean the game is meaningless for Minnesota. The game marks the team's celebration of its fans, as the team will have plenty of prize giveaways as well as the "Jerseys Off Our Backs" tradition.

For more information on Fan Celebration Night, click here

"This is a place we love playing," said Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. "We also owe our fans a couple good efforts here at home. We haven't been able to provide that for most of this year."

The Bruins are landlocked into second place in the Atlantic Division and will open the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week against rival Toronto. Boston will have home ice advantage in what should be a thrilling series.

Boston is led offensively by Brad Marchand, who tallied a goal and an assist on Tuesday against Columbus, giving him 100 points on the season. Marchand's previous career best was 85 points, which he had each of the past two seasons.

Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak have been outstanding in injury-shortened campaigns. Both players have played in just 64 games, but Bergeron has 32 goals and 79 points while Pastrnak has 37 goals and 78 points.

Tuukka Rask has started 44 games this season and has a 27-12-5 record with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.

Homeward bound

Ryan Suter leads the Wild in home scoring with 29 points (1-28=29) this season. Zach Parise ranks second with 27 points (13-14=27), Jared Spurgeon (5-18=23) and Jason Zucker (14-9=23) rank T-3rd with 23 points each, and Eric Staal ranks fifth with 22 points.

Series notes

All-Time Wild Record: 14-6-3 (6-2-3 at Xcel Energy Center, 8-4-0 at Boston)

2018-19: Minnesota lost its first season meeting against Boston, 4-0, at TD Garden (1/8)…G Alex Stalock stopped 23-of-27 shots…C Patrice Bergeron (1-2=3) and LW Brad Marchand (1-2=3) led the Bruins with three points each…D Torey Krug (0-2=2) and D John Moore (0-2=2) tallied two assists apiece…G Tuukka Rask made 24 saves.

WILD LEADERS: C Eric Staal leads the Wild with 36 points (16-20=36) in 48 contests against Boston…LW Zach Parise has 20 points (8- 12=20) in 34 games…D Ryan Suter owns 11 points (2-9=11) in 17 matches…C Eric Fehr has 11 points (5-6=11) in 26 contests.

WILD GOALIES: G Devan Dubnyk is 2-6-0 with a 3.69 GAA, .893 SV% and two shutouts in eight career starts vs. the Bruins…Stalock is 0-1- 1 with a 2.59 GAA and a .906 SV% in three games (two starts).

BRUINS LEADERS: RW David Backes leads the Bruins with 23 points (12-11=23) in 40 matches against Minnesota…Bergeron has 14 points (4-10=14) in 16 contests…D Zdeno Chara owns nine points (1-8=9) in 20 games.

BRUINS GOALIES: Rask is 5-3-1 with a 1.75 GAA, a .940 SV% and one shutout in nine career starts vs. the Wild…G Jaroslav Halak is 3-3-4 with a 2.42 GAA, a .916 SV% and one shutout in 12 starts.

Did you know?

Minnesota has sold out 228 consecutive regular season games at Xcel Energy Center. The last regular season game that was not a sellout was Dec. 2, 2013 vs. Philadelphia. Minnesota has registered 735 all-time sellouts at home, including 669 regular season matches.

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