With how similarly the Wild and Nashville Predators are constructed, one might think each team would have the key to beating the other.
"Yes and no," Matt Dumba said. "We have to stay hard within our system, and not fall into anything they want to do. You just have to play hard, and you want to have all the possession in the game, and do all the little things that you need to do to win the game."
The Wild and Predators each like to play at a higher pace. Both teams are deep defensively, and like to gets its defensemen involved in the rush. And each team has a tall, lanky, effective goaltender patrolling its crease.
"Very similar," Yeo said describing the two teams. "First off, both awfully big goaltenders covering off a lot of net. The biggest thing for me is the speed of their game, and how much of that is a function of the play of their defensemen."
Like the Wild, Nashville doesn't want its defensemen sitting back, and instead is successful when they get involved.
"Their defensemen's ability to skate, to get up ice, to join plays, to carry the puck, and to distribute the puck, that's the number one ingredient to building the pace part of your game," Yeo said.
Each team's last line of defense is bolstered by a goalie that stands at least 6-foot-5 (Devan Dubnyk is an inch taller than Pekka Rinne at 6-foot-6). Rinne, a 10-year vetern, is someone who Dubnyk said he's modeled his game after.
"Just his compete level for me," Dubnyk said. "Obviously I can't bend the way he does—I don't think a lot of people can—so I wasn't about to try to start doing that if I wanted to stay healthy. But just his compete level; he battles on every single puck that comes at him, even if there's a 99 percent chance of the puck going in, he'll still put in the effort to get there.
"That's admirable, and something that I try to take from him."
For Dubnyk, it's a part of a constant desire to get better and an exercise in studying his peers.
"You've got the best goalies in the world in one league," he said. "Everybody is going to have something they do extremely well. It doesn't matter if you're built like somebody or not.
"I'm sure there are things that I can learn from Jonathan Quick, the way he plays, not that I could again ever put my body in the positions that he puts himself in, but every guy in the league, if you go through, there's something that you can do extremely well that you can take from them."
Here are the Wild's projected lines:
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Nino Niederreiter
Zach Parise – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek – Charlie Coyle – Jordan Schroeder
Chris Porter – Erik Haula – Ryan Carter
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella – Nate Prosser
ORANGE BLAZE HAT GIVEAWAY
On Thursday, all fans in attendance will receive a blaze orange Gander Mountain hat. The Minnesota outdoor-based retailer is launching its annual “Hunt with the Wild” sweepstakes, teaming with the Wild, Pheasants Forever, and Federal Premium Ammunition.
PREGAME HAPPY HOUR
Start Friday's festivities a little earlier with our pre-game happy hour, from 4:45pm - 6:45pm, on top of the box office at Xcel Energy Center.
Two full bars will be serving Anheuser-Busch beers, liquor and Chankaska wine, as well as 20oz bottles of soda and water as you gear up for tonight’s match-up against the Nashville Predators. Popcorn, chips, and candy will also be available for purchase.