Tonight, the Minnesota Wild (20-11-5) travel to Pittsburgh to take on the high flying Pittsburgh Penguin's (25-10-1) in an important non-conference match-up.
Game time: 6:00 p.m. Central.
TV: NHLN-US, FS-N, ROOT
Last 10 games: Minnesota 5-4-1; Pittsburgh 9-1-0
Last night: The Wild were idle. Penguins beat the New York Rangers 4-3 shootout.
Season Series: This will be the first game, of a two game series. The Wild will play the Penguins again at the Xcel Energy Center on April 5, 2014.
All-Time Wild Record: 9-3-1 (3-2-1 at Xcel Energy Center, 6-1-0 at Pittsburgh)
2012-13: Did not play last season. 2011-12: Pittsburgh won the last meeting between the two teams, 4-2, at Xcel Energy Center (10/18/11)
Minnesota Wild: The Wild have called up goalie Johan Gustafsso from the Iowa Wild. So far, Gustafsson, is (4-4-0, 2.95 GAA, with a .898 save percentage). The Iowa Wild goalie has one shutout in nine games this season.
Couple of Ex-Penguins make their return to Pittsburgh
Forward Matt Cooke returns to Pittsburgh, a team he played five seasons for (2007-2013), scoring (67g-83a-150pts) in 352 games. Forward Mike Rupp also played two seasons for the Penguins (2009-2011), scoring (22g-14a-36pts) in 162 games.
Josh Harding will be missed in his absence. The Wild's starter is having an All-Star season. Harding is 18-5-3 in 27 games this season; he ranks first in the NHL in goals-against average (1.51). He's tied for first in shutouts with (3), second in save percentage (.939). Lastly, he's tied for second in wins with (18).
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins top-four defenseman (Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi) are out with injuries, yet they are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games. One has to wonder, if the Pens are doing it with smoke and mirrors.
Sidney Crosby is leading the Penguins in points with (19g-30a-49pts). Crosby is smoking hot right now, scoring (4g-3a-7pts) in his last seven games.
Yesterday, the NHL suspended Penguins’ defenseman Engelland five-games for his hit on Detroit's Justin Abdelkader.
Yeo said Mikael Granlund wants to play. But with only "one real practice" since the injury, Granlund will remain out tonight.— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) December 19, 2013
Per Chad Graf: Josh Harding to miss at least seven days while adjusting to treatment for MS. Minnesota Wild GM Fletcher said he'll be back Dec. 27. Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo said, "There's a chance that Backstrom will start all three games, while Harding is gone."
Pittsburgh Penguins Injury Report: Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Tanner Glass (hand) are out. Jayson Megna (lower body), Kris Letang (undisclosed injury), Brooks Orpik (concussion), Rob Scuderi (leg injury) are all on (IR).
Penguins’ Malkin to miss another game http://t.co/xerAICO7Gy— Rob Rossi (@RobRossi_Trib) December 19, 2013