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Minnesota Wild @ Columbus Blue Jackets: Game 18

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Minnesota Wild (9-5-3) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (3-12-1)

Nationwide Arena @ 6:00PM CDT Television: FSN
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Columbus perspective, check out The Cannon

Minnesota Wild Columbus Blue Jackets

Devin Setoguchi - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Casey Wellman - Matt Cullen - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Colton Gillies - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck
Brad Staubitz - Darroll Powe - Nick Johnson

Clayton Stoner - Marek Zidlicky
Nate Prosser - Nick Schultz
Justin Falk - Jared Spurgeon

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

R.J. Umberger - Jeff Carter - Rick Nash
Vinny Prospal - Ryan Johansen - Mark Letestu
Antoine Vermette - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Matt Calvert - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Grant Clitsome - James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin
Marc Methot - John Moore

Steve Mason
Curtis Sanford

A few story lines to keep an eye on tonight. First, Wisniewski and Clutterbuck get to face each other for the first time since Wisniewski was suspended for a hit on Clutterbuck, and Matt Calvert has to face Pierre-Marc "The Reaper" Bouchard for the first time since Calvert hit himself in the face with Bouchard's stick, resulting in the biggest joke of a suspension in Brendan Shanahan's short stay as discipline czar.

Also of note, the Blue Jackets really aren't very good. The talking heads have been talking injuries, but let's face it, they just aren't that good to begin with. If the Wild play a game the style of the game against the Canucks, they should win this one easily. However, a wounded animal is far more dangerous, and the Jackets have nothing to lose. They will come out hard and fast, so unless the Wild match that intensity, they will be the wounded animal leaving the game.

The key, as always will be to (everyone with me) shoot the puck. Steve Mason is a terrible goalie. Down right awful, so if the Wild put pressure on him, he will crack. His backup is nothing special either, so shoot, shoot, shoot. It really is that simple.

Five Questions:

  1. Rick Nash owns the Wild. Does that continue?
  2. If Wellman plays, does he fit in?
  3. Can Nick Johnson find some luck with the puck?
  4. Can the Wild simply come out of this one without any further injuries?
  5. These two teams hate each other for some reason. Can they break 40 PIMs between them?