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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Winnipeg

Home-heavy stretch of schedule kicks off Saturday afternoon against division-rival Jets

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (17-14-5) vs. Winnipeg Jets (20-13-2)

Puck drop: 1:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: FM 100.3 KFAN, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild, @mnwildscribe; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

ST. PAUL -- With two games remaining before the Christmas break, the Wild will try and get its home-heavy slate off to a good start on Saturday when the division-rival Winnipeg Jets come to town for the first time this season.

Minnesota will play 18 of its next 22 games at Xcel Energy Center after starting the year with 23 of 36 away from home. The Wild finished that stretch with a memorable 8-5 win in Glendale over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, the Wild's final road contest before the three-day Christmas layoff. 

"It's important that you get something out of every road trip. We could very easily have won the first two games of this and again we didn't. But the resiliency again, keeping with it, keeping with it and winning this game was huge. 

"And you got 2 before the break, and could conceivably if you're lucky and play great have 43 points going into the break which is not too bad for a team that started out the way we started."

The Wild carries an 11-game home point streak into the game, having not lost in regulation in downtown St. Paul since the home opener on Oct. 12.

After facing Winnipeg, the Wild will host the Calgary Flames on Monday afternoon in the final game before a much-needed break.

The game Saturday is the second of four meetings between the rivals. The Jets won the first game 5-2 on Oct. 10 at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg. Patrik Laine scored a pair of goals and added two assists while Plymouth native Blake Wheeler chipped in a goal and an assist.

The game was tied at 2-2 in the third period before Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic scored goals 28 seconds apart midway through the period to take control.

Winnipeg and Minnesota will play again at Xcel Energy Center in two weeks before concluding their season series in March back in Winnipeg.

Mark Scheifele leads the club with 16 goals and 36 points while Laine has a team-high 21 assists and is second with 32 points. Winnipeg has seven players with at least 20 points on the year.

Connor Hellebuyck is 16-10-2 in 29 games this season (27 starts) with a 2.53 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

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