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Minnesota Wild vs. Washington Capitals: Game 9

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Minnesota Wild (3-3-2) vs Washington Capitals (6-3-0)

Xcel Energy Center @ 7:00PM CDT Television: NHLN-US(HD), FS-N(HD), FS-WI(HD)
Listen live on, or locally at 830 AM

For the Washington perspective, check out Japers' Rink

Minnesota Wild
Washington Capitals

Andrew Brunette - Mikko Koivu - Antti Miettinen
Chuck Kobasew - Matt Cullen - Martin Havlat
Cal Clutterbuck - John Madden - Eric Nystrom
Brad Staubitz - Kyle Brodziak - Colton Gillies

Marek Zidlicky - Greg Zanon
Nick Schultz -Brent Burns
Clayton Stoner - Justin Falk

Niklas Backstrom
Jose Theodore

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Mike Knuble
Brooks Laich - Tomas Fleischmann - Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Eric Fehr
D.J. King - David Steckel - Matt Hendricks

John Erskine - John Carlson
Karl Alzner - Jeff Schultz
Mike Green - Tyler Sloan

Michal Neuvirth
Braden Holtby

No. Monday night's game was not a solid effort. That same effort tonight, the Wild are run out of the building. Being chased by season ticket holders. Carrying pitchforks. And apparently fan-girls carrying copies of Twilight, thinking that Matt Cullen really is a lost Cullen brother.

This Washington team is, shockingly, playing fantastic hockey, and if they hadn't lost starting goaltender Seymon Varlamov to injury, would likely be atop the Eastern conference. But alas, it's the NHL and injuries happen.

Speaking of injuries, the Wild are without Guillaume Latendresse (groin), Cam Barker (groin), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (mushy head) are all out. Antti Miettinen (vomit) and Chuck Kobasew are game-time decisions, so Casey Wellman has been called up from Houston.

Now: The Havlat/Richards dual. Is it much ado about nothing? Is Allan Walsh prepping to get his guy moved? Do Havlat and Richards have beef? What does that mean anyway? Who decided that "beef" was going to be a euphemism for "argument" or "personality conflict"? No matter, the situation is clearly tenuous, and has been building since last season. This doesn't bode well, and will likely have an impact tonight. Will it mean that Havlat will be tight, or is it finally out so now he can just play? Will Richards get petulant and take it out on Havlat, cutting his TOI further?

Only the Shadow knows.

Drop the puck.

Five Questions:

  1. Can the Wild's special teams bounce back?
    Will the line shuffle make a difference?
    Does Allan Walsh's outburst have an impact on Havlat or how he's used?
    Can the Wild defense stop the offensive onslaught that is the Washington Capitals?
    Will Alexander Ovechkin make remarks about fat Minnesota girls? (reference: Alexander Ovechkin Has Some Opinions On Women He'd Like To Share)
    BONUS: Can the Wild put together a 60 minute effort?