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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Philadelphia

Wild plays the first of back-to-back games Saturday night in Philly

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /
The Essentials
Puck drop: 6:08 p.m. CT
Watch: FOX Sports North Plus; FOX Sports GOWild Watch Bar LocationsNHL.TV

Listen: KOOL108, 107.9 FM

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

The Opponent

The Philadelphia Flyers will be playing the second of back-to-back games following a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday in Toronto. The Flyers led 3-2 heading into the third period, but surrendered four unanswered goals over the final 20 minutes. Just one team has scored more than Philadelphia's 52 goals this season, but no team has given up as many as the Flyers, who have seen opponents score 57 times. Minnesota has allowed 24 goals in three fewer games. 


• Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz played 10 seasons with the Wild after being drafted in the second round of the 2000 NHL Draft. Schultz, the second-ever draft pick by Minnesota, ranks second in franchise history in games played (743). 

• Flyers forward Chris VandeVelde is a Moorhead native and played four seasons at the University of North Dakota. 

• Flyers forward Matt Read played four seasons for Bemidji State University. 

Sute of Armor

Wild defenseman Ryan Suter is tied for the team lead with 11 points this season and leads the club with eight assists. His point total is the second highest by a defenseman in the NHL this season. The Madison, Wisconsin native earned more than 31 minutes of ice time against the Penguins on Thursday and ranks second in the League in ice time (27:18).

At the Rink

The Minnesota Wild will try for a sweep of the Keystone State when it plays at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Wild forward Erik Haula, who returned from a seven-game absence on Thursday in a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, will skate in his 200th NHL game tonight.

For Haula, a speedy centerman, returning against the Penguins was a good test for his previously injured foot. Like Haula, Pittsburgh plays a skilled, fast game. 

"I felt better than I expected, to be honest," Haula said. "I tried to work hard off the ice so that when I did come back, I'd be ready to help the team."

Getting Haula back was a boon for the Wild, not only when skating 5-on-5, but also on the penalty kill, where his speed is a definite asset. In his first game back, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said he was please with what he saw.

"Erik fills a big hole for us," Boudreau said. "To know you can come back from him, and that's not taking anything away from our young players, but to see an established guy come in after a power play is a pretty good sight. And his speed is s electrifying, it creates opportunities for us."

More importantly, the Wild were able to kick off the trip with a victory in one of the NHL's toughest barns, lifting the spirits of everyone else as the three-game trip concludes with back-to-back games this weekend. Minnesota will be in Ottawa for a late afternoon game on Sunday.

"It was a good start to the road trip. It's always important to get that first game," Haula said. "Everyone is in a good mood. That's a really tough building to win in, that was my first win in that building. Hopefully we can get better tonight."

Here are the projected lineups:


Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle

Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Erik Haula - Christoph Bertschy

Joel Erikkson Ek - Tyler Graovac - Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter - Matt Dumba

Mike Reilly - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek

Chris VandeVelde - Nick Cousins - Dale Weise

Matt Read - Pierre-Édouard Bellemare - Roman Lyubimov

Shayne Gostisbehere - Nick Schultz

Ivan Provorov - Mark Streit

Michael Del Zotto - Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

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