Wild Back In Action Still Minus Some Key Players
Yes it is that time again, the Wild are playing tonight!!! This is getting to feel like the NFL playing once a week, of course hockey fans have a far better attention span and can focus and stay engaged for the full 82 game season with 3 and 4 games per week.
Kirill Kaprizov will return to the lineup after missing last Saturday's game with an upper body injury. Kaprizov also got some great news yesterday that he and Cam Talbot will representing the Wild at the NHL All Star weekend.
Ryan Hartman is in the running for the last man in vice for the Central Division, so definitely log onto NHL app and vote Hartman in.
Tonight it is the Ducks coming to snowy Minnesota. The Wiod have won the last nine games in the series with the Ducks including the two meetings played earlier this season 4-3(OT) in St. Paul on October 23rd and 2-1 in Anaheim on October 15th.
Anaheim is a far better club than the one the Wild beat seven times last season when the team's were both in the Honda/West division. This is a young energetic squad led by Troy Terry and his 22 goals and rookie Trevor Zegras and his 27 points in 33 games. They still have Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler leading the way both on the ice and in the room along with veteran Kevin Shattenkirk mentoring the next wave of Ducks stars Terry and Zegras along with Jamie Drysdale the #6 overall pick from the 2020 draft on the Ducks blueline.
John Gibson is one of the league's most talented goaltenders and is having another solid season in net for the Ducks. Thisbisba team that can skate with anyone and plays sound defense. They currently sit in 2nd place in thw Pacific Division, just three points back of Vegas entering tonight's game.
The Wild have a modest two game win streak which came on the heels of their five game losing streak. Minnesota had sat atop the NHL standings back on December 9th but since then the schedule has gone up in flames for the Wild with 7 postponed games over the next month leading to them only playing seven games since that December 9th 5-2 victory in San Jose over the Sharks.
Injuries have also taken their toll on the Wild roster and now they are dealing with a few Covid-19 issues ofbtheir own as well. Joel Eriksson Ek is the latest to enter the league's COVID-19 protocol and Alex Goligoski did not pass his test so he will not be in the lineup either. Brandon Duhaime and Jordan Greenway have been cleared and both will return tonight.
Jared Spurgeon is still out along with Jonas Brodin again leaving the Wild without three of their top four defensemen. Dakota Mermis and Calen Addison will once again team up as the Wild third pair D and Jordie Benn will skate with Matt Dumba while the Jon Merrill and his normal defensive partner Dmitry Kulikov will lineup as the second unit.
Can Talbot will not play tonight and it appears that he and Spurgeon will also miss Monday's game in Denver.
The forward lines will be as follows:
It's always Hockey Day in The State of Hockey!