Wilderness Walk 12-11-2013: Game Day Edition

The Wild face the very good (and very hot) Anaheim Ducks tonight at Honda Center. - Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Zucker joins forces with the Wild yet again to take on the Anaheim Ducks.

The Wild start a stretch where 7 of their next 8 games will take place on the road. There's going to be this West Coast trip, which has them doing a back-to-back with Anaheim and San Jose, and then a trip to Colorado, followed by a home game at Vancouver, and then followed by an East Coast swing.

Anaheim is proving to be one of the major players in the Western Conference, starting to pull away from the rest of their division with a very healthy 47 points, mostly on the strength of their offense. Surprisingly, it's not even driven by their power play, which is 17th in the league (Good news for the Wild's 23rd-ranked penalty kill). Instead, only Chicago has more even-strength goals than Anaheim.

In addition to the talent they have, the Ducks have been giving the Wild problems as of late, winning 6 out of the 8 times they've faced each other in the last three seasons, including the last 5 meetings. Even more frustrating is that 5 of those 6 wins came by one goal.

So, since we want to save some info for the game preview, we'll just see how it goes tonight. In the meantime, we get to look at the Wild's road woes, and an old new friend shows up to take Dany Heatley's place. Let's get on to the Walk.

Wild News

Wild looks to change its ways on the road | Star Tribune- With a big road trip starting tonight, the Wild's road struggles are coming into the forefront of the blogosphere's consciousness.

Minnesota Wild: Among top teams, none is worse on the road - TwinCities.com- The Wild are doing fairly bad on the road against most of their main competition.

Wild notes: Zucker's back, on second line, so Heatley drops to fourth line | Star Tribune- The "Let's try to salvage Dany Heatley" experiment has ended again, for now.

Dany Heatley downgraded to fourth line; Dumba's WHL rights traded to Portland | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- The blog version.

Minnesota Wild bring Jason Zucker up from AHL team - TwinCities.com- Did you hear that Jason Zucker is back?

Minnesota Wild Recalls Forward Jason Zucker- Yup, Jason Zucker is back in this article, too.

The Team of 18,001: Tuesday Thoughts- Giles has some Wild notes.

Tending the Fields

First Round Bust: Mathew Dumba's WHL Rights Traded To Portland- Portland may as well have traded for Santa Claus. He won't play a minute for them.

Off the Trail

Jarome Iginla’s bittersweet homecoming to Calgary | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Yes, Jarome Iginla is returning to Pittsburgh. I think.

Jeremy Roenick hates what James Neal did (but totally would have done it too) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- JR talks about the James Neal incident.

NHL expansion update from Gary Bettman: We’re listening | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Speaking of JR, the Seattle team he may or may not be involved with may or may not be picking up steam.

Florida Panthers replace broken pane of glass with one you can’t see through (Video) | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Hopefully, whatever Seattle can do for a hockey team, it's better than this.

Update: Ryan Callahan out 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain | ProHockeyTalk- Gotta change up my fantasy team.

Lundqvist: ‘It can only go up’ for Rangers | ProHockeyTalk- Especially when you're set to make 60 million.

In which Ville Leino, healthy scratch, earns our sympathy | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Leino is getting scratching all the way to the bank.

The Nine Goalies Drafted Before Braden Holtby- The Capitals made everyone look silly. Including themselves, who passed on Holtby 4 times before getting him in the fourth round.

Ducks, Islanders at top bottom of week 10 NHL Power Rankings - NHL - Allan Muir - SI.com- The Wild's opponent takes the number one spot. Might the Wild dethrone them?

Mittenstringer Of The Year 2013 - This isn't 'Nam. There are rules. - Pension Plan Puppets- Nominate some bad sportswriting, if you'd like.

Behind Enemy Lines

It's time to take the Anaheim Ducks seriously - NHL - Sporting News- The Wild had better.

Takeaways: The Crippled Blue Line Can Play - Anaheim Calling- In case you think not seeing familiar faces on the Ducks' D makes you rest easy.

Gameday preview: Wild at Anaheim | Star Tribune- Get caught up for the game tonight.

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