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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Winnipeg

Niederreiter expected to return as Wild hosts division rival Jets on Tuesday

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com
The essentials

Who: Winnipeg Jets (5-3-2) at Minnesota Wild (4-3-2) 

Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter


The opponent

The Winnipeg Jets come to St. Paul off their most impressive victory of the season, a 7-1 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bell MTS Place on Sunday.

Plymouth native and former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Blake Wheeler posted his second career hat trick, scoring all three goals in a span of 4 minutes, 20 seconds in the first period.

Winnipeg scored five first period goals in all on Sunday, including three in just 34 seconds, smashing the previous franchise record for fastest three goals by 24 seconds.

The victory snapped a brief two-game losing streak; the Jets had five days off after a 4-3 win against Minnesota on Oct. 20 before losing back-to-back road games in overtime against the Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets late last week. Winnipeg has gained at least a point in four consecutive games and in seven of its past eight games overall.

Wheeler leads the Jets with 12 points in 10 games, including a team-leading eight assists. Nikolaj Ehlers has six goals among eight points. Both Wheeler and Ehlers had goals the last time these teams met.


Connections

• Wild assistant coach John Anderson served as the Atlanta Thrashers head coach for two seasons (2008-10).

• Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien is a native of Roseau.

• Jets forward Matt Hendricks is from Blaine and played four seasons at St. Cloud State (2000-04).

• Wheeler hails from Plymouth and went to the University of Minnesota (2005-08).


Haunted house

Tuesday's game will mark the third Halloween game at Xcel Energy Center, but the first since an overtime victory against San Jose in 2002. Minnesota plays on Halloween for the fifth time in franchise history, having posted a 2-1-1 record all-time on Oct. 31. The Wild last played on Halloween in 2015, falling 3-2 in overtime in St. Louis.

Minnesota forward Nino Niederreiter, out since Oct. 12 with a high left ankle sprain, is expected to return Tuesday night.

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