With the Minnesota Wild fighting for their playoff lives, and sitting just three points out of ninth place (where there is a three way tie), the team needs to find a way to put some points up in the standings. To do that, they are going to need to put some points on the scoreboard, first. The Wild have not scored a goal against a team not coached by Todd Richards in over a week.
Shutout in three of the last four, the Wild are the only team in the West's top 8 with a losing record in their past ten games. The four teams chasing them in the standings, on the other hand, are at least .500 in their last ten, including Columbus.
The root cause of the lack of offense production can be debated until we are all blue in the face. The fact is, the Wild have not been nearly good enough the last two weeks to be considered a safe bet to make the playoffs. They need this game, and they need it pretty bad.
As of this writing, there was no word on Ryan Suter or Matt Cullen returning to the lineup. Jason Zucker is up, but Mike Yeo was mum on if Zucker would play tonight. With the lack of any reason not to play Zucker, it would be a safer bet that he is than him being benched.
For the Jackets, keep an eye on... well, their only real threat is Marian Gaborik, so shutting him down should be the focus of the Wild tonight.
Expect this one to get physical, and for both teams to play it tight. These two points are huge in the standings. For both teams.
Game time is 7. Enjoy, and try to keep your heart from stopping.