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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. N.Y. Islanders

Late afternoon affair up next for Wild on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com
The essentials

Who: New York Islanders (23-10-3) at Minnesota Wild (19-15-5)

Puck drop: 5:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: 107.9 FM KOOL 108, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild, @mnwildscribe; GameCenter


The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling


ST. PAUL -- The Wild will aim to put its scoring depth on display again on Sunday when it hosts the New York Islanders at Xcel Energy Center.

Friday night in Denver, the Wild won 6-4 powered by six different goal scorers. A week prior in Arizona, the Wild won 8-5 with eight different goal scorers. 

It's been a new hero every night for Minnesota, with Victor Rask scoring the winner against the Avs. The Wild has chemistry on all four of its forward lines right now, despite a couple of key injuries up front to Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker.

Video: Rink Report: Wild vs Islanders

While the latter remains several weeks away from a potential return, the Wild captain is inching closer. He practiced with the team on Saturday at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center, the first time he's been on the ice with teammates since he left practice early in Las Vegas more than a week ago. 

On Saturday, Koivu deemed that a setback, but said he's worked hard since to put himself back in a position to rejoin the lineup. He's unlikely to do so Sunday, although Wild coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't completely rule it out. 

A more likely timeline would be a return to action at some point on the upcoming homestand, which begins Sunday and extends over the next week and a half. 

Video: Mikko Koivu practices with team

"He's gonna let us know," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "He probably won't be playing [Sunday] at this point, but you never know. We'll see what he has to say."

The Islanders come to the Twin Cities on the heels of a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at United Center. 

Ross Johnston got things going for New York, giving the Isles a 1-0 lead 5:50 into the game, but the Blackhawks answered with three goals in a span of 4:22, forcing goaltender Thomas Griess from the game. 

Chicago would add two more goals early in the third to open up a four-goal advantage. 

New York has lost three of its past four and four of its past five entering the contest, posting a 1-3-1 record during that stretch. The game Sunday marks the third road game against Central foes this month for the Islanders; they lost the previous two to Chicago on Friday and Dallas on Dec. 7.

Mathew Barzal paces the Islanders offense with 16 goals, 16 assists and 32 points. Warroad native Brock Nelson has 13 goals and 28 points and Anders Lee, an Edina product, has 11 goals and 22 points.

Semyon Varlamov is the expected starter between the pipes. He's 12-3-3 in 18 starts this season with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

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