Minnesota Wild @ Winnipeg Jets: Game Preview

Paul Bereswill

Tonight, the Minnesota Wild (20-14-5) travel to Winnipeg Manitoba to take on the Winnipeg Jets (16-18-5) at the MTS Centre.

Game Time: 7:00 p.m. Central.

TV: FS-N.

Last 10 games: Minnesota Wild 4-6-0; Winnipeg Jets 3-6-1.

Last time out: Minnesota lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Winnipeg lost to the 6-2 to the last-place Edmonton Oilers.

Season series: This is the fourth game of five-game series between the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets. So far, the Wild have won each game of the series. In their last game against the Winnipeg Jets, the Wild won 3-2 in a shootout. This is the final game of the Wild and Jets series in 2013. The Jets will entertain the Wild in the season finale on April 7, 2014.

Minnesota Wild: This is the final road game of a four-game road trip for the Minnesota Wild. So far, the road trip has been a disaster for the Wild, they've gone 0-3-0 and been outscored 13-4.

Wild starved for goals: The Minnesota Wild are not scoring goals, and have scored just 22 goals in the last 15 games. That’s not going to win a lot of games in the National Hockey League. Minnesota is ranked 29th in goals scoring with 2.13 goals per game. For comparison sake, the Jets are ranked 19 with 2.51 goals per game.

Lineup changes for Wild: With the Wild’s top points scorer Zach Parise (15g-12a—27pts), out with a foot injury. According to Michael Russo, Stephane Veilleux has been recalled from the Iowa Wild to replace Parise in the lineup.

According to Michael Russo Twitter feed: There were three goalies on the ice for practice. Appears that Niklas Backstrom will start and Johan Gustafsson will back him up. Wild goalie Josh Harding will not play tonight.

Mikael Granlund returns to the lineup: Since returning from an upper body injury, Mikael Granlund has made an impact for the Minnesota Wild. The second year forward has scored (1g-1a—2pts) in two games. Fun fact, Granlund has not taken a single penalty in his last five games.

Ryan Suter file: Ryan Suter (0g-22a—22pts) has not scored a goal in 39 games this season. No, that’s not a misprint. The Wild defenseman has played 629 NHL scoring 42 goals and he has not scored a single goal this season. Not one. Suter has been an Ironman and has played an average of 30.68 minutes per game the last five games.

Josh Harding in beast mode: Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding is having an All-Star season, the Wild goalie is 18-5-3, 1.51 GAA, .939 save percentage, with 3 shutouts. Harding is fifth in the NHL in wins, second in the NHL in save percentage, first in the NHL in shutouts and goals against average. Harding is also 12th in minutes played.

Who’s hot: Jason Pominville (2g-2a—4pts) in the last five games. Ryan Suter is "smoking" hot, scoring (0g-7a—7pts) in the last seven games.

Who’s not hot: Forwards: Mikko Koivu 0g-2a—2pts) and a (-6) in the last five games, Dany Heatley (1g-0a—1pts) in the last five games, and Matt Cooke (0g-0a—0pts) in the last five games. Defenseman: Jared Spurgeon (0g0a—0pts) in the last five games and Jonas Brodin (0g-1a—1pts) in the last five games. Goalie: Niklas Backstrom 2-8-0, .896 save percentage, 3.18 GAA.

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets come into this game having lost three of the last four games. This season, the Jets have not won more than two games in a row. The Jets have also lost two games in a row by a combined score of 8-3.

Top players for Jets: Forwards: Bryan Little (14g-18a—32pts), Blake Wheeler (12g-15a—27pts), Andrew Ladd (9g-16a—25pts). Defenseman: Dustin Byfuglien (6g-21a-27pts), Grant Clitsome (2g-10a—12pts), Jacob Trouba (2g-6a—8pts).

Injuries:

Minnesota Wild: Clayton Stoner (lower body) questionable, Zach Pairse (foot), Josh Harding (MS) are out .

Winnipeg Jets: Zach Bogosian (flu) out, Jim Slater (sports hernia), Paul Postma (blood clot), Matt Halshuck (forearm) all on the IR.

Projected Winnipeg Jets forward lines:

Andrew Ladd – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler

Evander KaneMark ScheifeleMichael Frolik

Chris Thornburn – Olli Jokinen– Devin Setoguchi

Eric TangradiJames WrightAnthony Peluso

Projected Minnesota Wild forward lines:

Nino Niederreiter – Mikko Koivu – Charlie Coyle

Dany Heatley – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville

Matt Cooke – Kyle BrodziakJustin Fontaine

Torrey MitchellZenon Konopka – Stephane Veilleux

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