Game Preview: Minnesota Wild @ Winnipeg Jets

Hannah Foslien

The Wild take on, divisional rivals, the Winnipeg Jets in a rare early afternoon game.



This is the 3rd of 5 contests between these 2 teams this season. The Wild won the previous 2 games, both by 2 goals to 1. The Wild are coming off the back of a couple of fairly sloppy performances, which resulted in a heavy defeat in Montreal, and a narrow win in Ottawa. They will be looking to get back on their game and dominate against the Jets.

The Jets' last game was a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, their 3rd straight defeat. If the Wild win tonight, it will mean the Jets have lost all 3 games of their current home-stand.

The big narrative coming into this game has been the resurgence of Mikko Koivu's production, with 4 goals and 8 assists in the last 8 games. The truth is, Koivu has been dominating all year and the pucks have just started to go in now. This quote from him is an absolute gem, and hits the nail right on the head:

"I don't think I've changed my game at all," said Koivu, who leads the Wild with 15 assists. "You keep getting chances, you have to believe it's going to go in and lately it's been going in."

Speaking of Koivu, he is tied for most points in the NHL since November 8th, and is the 4th best puck possession player in the league. I wonder what the "trade Koivu" crowd make of all this.

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via cdn1.sbnation.com



Central Standings
GP W L OTL PT
Chicago 23 15 4 4 34
St. Louis 21 15 3 3 33
Colorado 21 16 5 0 32
Minnesota 23 14 5 4 32
Dallas 21 11 8 2 24
Nashville 22 11 9 2 24
Winnipeg 24 10 11 3 23

(updated 11.23.2013 at 8:13 AM GMT)


As you can see, The Central Division Conference III is a dog-fight right now so winning these divisional games is key. The Jets are only the appetizer as the Wild have the Blues and a home & home against the Avs coming up over the next week.

This should be a statement game for the Wild against a weaker opponent.


Minnesota Wild Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Niklas Backstrom concussion 11/14/2013
Keith Ballard other-excused 11/06/2013


Winnipeg Jets Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mark Stuart hip 11/22/2013

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Zach Bogosian groin 11/16/2013
Jim Slater sports-hernia 10/19/2013
Paul Postma leg 10/27/2013
Jacob Trouba other-excused 10/19/2013

With Torrey Mitchell still hurt, Jason Zucker will stay in the team and gets another chance to show what he can do. Niklas Backstrom is skating again but is still on IR, so Kuemper remains as back-up.

The Jets are missing some key defenceman, namely Wild fan favourite, Zach Bogosian.

Check back here later for the live gameday coverage and discussion.

*UPDATE*

  • Backstrom has been activated and will back-up tonight. Kuemper has been re-assigned.
  • Granlund did not skate in the warm-ups, so Nate Prosser will be dressed and the Wild will play with 7 defencemen.
  • Prosser played forward for a couple of games last year, so he could slot in on the 4th line.

*UPDATE #2*

  • Harding is questionable. *gulp*

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