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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at New York Islanders

Wild plays the second half of back-to-back games in Brooklyn

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com
The Essentials
Puck drop: 5:08 p.m. CT
Watch: FOX Sports North; FOX Sports GOWild Watch Bar LocationsNHL.TV

Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

 
The Opponent

The New York Islanders are coming off a 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night. The Islanders are in the midst of an 11-game stretch in which they play 10 of those games at home. Defenseman Nick Leddy, who has one goal and one assist in four games, is questionable with an upper-body injury but returned to practice on Saturday. Defenseman Ryan Pulock will miss the next 4-6 weeks after sustaining a lower-body injury against the Coyotes.

 

Connections

• Leddy, an Eden Prairie native, was the Wild's first-round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft but was traded to Chicago before skating in a game with his hometown team.

• Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon was a sixth-round pick of the Islanders in the 2008 NHL Draft but never signed with the team.

• Wild forward Nino Niederreiter was the fifth overall pick of the Islanders in the 2010 NHL Draft and scored two goals in 64 games between 2010 and 2012.

•Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck was picked by the Wild in the third round of the 2006 NHL Draft, netting 110 points in 346 games with Minnesota from 2007-13 before being traded to New York in exchange for Niederreiter.

• Islanders forward Brock Nelson hails from Warroad and played two seasons at the University of North Dakota.

• Islanders forward Anders Lee is from Edina.

 

Finding Nino

Five games into the season, Wild forward Nino Niederreiter remains without a goal. For a team that has had 13 different players score at least one goal this season, the most in the NHL, the fact Niederreiter isn't one of them is somewhat surprising.

The main culprit has been a simple lack of shots. Niederreiter is averaging just one shot per game so far, a number he said he knows needs to increase.

"I need to find a way to get my shot off more often and crash the net more often," Niederreiter said. "I feel like last night was definitely a start in the right direction."

One play in particular that stood out for Niederreiter came in the second period when he made a nice move around a defenseman then cut hard to the net. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider made the save, but it was the kind of play Niederreiter made often last season that he hadn't so far this year.

Video: Nino Niederreiter Pregame at Islanders"That's what I have to try and do more often," Niederreiter said. "Otherwise you don't get into position. You just have to make sure you get there somehow."

A product may also be the amount of ice time Niederreiter has earned through the early going. After missing the first two weeks of training camp because of the World Cup of Hockey, Niederreiter started behind his other teammates in the process of working in new coach Bruce Boudreau's system. That includes on the power play, where he scored a pair of goals last season.

And while his game in New Jersey -- perhaps his strongest yet -- may get him more ice time tonight in Brooklyn, nothing will be given to him.

"I don't think you get anything for free in this league," Boudreau said. "Hopefully he will earn [more minutes]. I thought he was better last night than he was the previous night."

The Wild will play a second consecutive game without Jared Spurgeon and Erik Haula, who remain day-to-day with injuries.

That means Boudreau will go with the same skaters he did against New Jersey on Saturday night, although he didn't rule out making a few tweaks.

"I think sometimes change is good, too, but we'll see as we talk this afternoon," Boudreau said. 

Darcy Kuemper will get the start in goal. Kuemper made 30 saves in a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday in St. Paul in his only start of the season so far. 

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle

Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Zac Dalpe - Chris Stewart

Jason Zucker - Joel Eriksson Ek - Teemu Pulkkinen

Ryan Suter - Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin - Christian Folin

Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

ISLANDERS

Andrew Ladd - John Tavares - Josh Bailey

Anders Lee - Brock Nelson - Jason Chimera

Anthony Beauvillier - Ryan Strome - Alan Quine

Nikolay Kulemin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Thomas Hickey - Nick Leddy

Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Dennis Seidenberg - Johnny Boychuk

Jaroslav Halak

Thomas Greiss

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