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Minnesota Wild vs Phoenix Coyotes: Game 40

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Minnesota Wild (21-12-6) vs Phoenix Coyotes (18-16-4)

Xcel Energy Center @ 5:00 PM CDTTelevision: FSN
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Phoenix perspective, check out Five For Howling

Minnesota Wild Phoenix Coyotes

Cal Clutterbuck - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Pierre-Marc Bouchard -
Matt Cullen - Darroll Powe
Jed Ortmeyer - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Colton Gillies

Nate Prosser - Marco Scandella
Justin Falk - Nick Schultz
Greg Zanon - Marek Zidlicky

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski - Kyle Chipchura - Radim Vrbata
Raffi Torres - Cal O`Reilly - Patrick O`Sullivan
Taylor Pyatt - Andy Miele - Mikkel Boedker

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko

Jason LaBarbera
Curtis McElhinney

Being on the the second line for the Minnesota Wild is nearly as dangerous as entering the Bermuda Triangle. Devin Setoguchi, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and Casey Wellman have all spent time on that line, and have all spent time on the medical list. Next up is Jarod Palmer, who didn't spend much time there, but had some time on the second line. He is out with an "upper body" injury.

The last time the Wild met the Yotes, the Wild put a 4-1 hurting on our friends to the southwest, and then immediately went on an eight game losing streak. The pride of the Minnesota Wild demands a payment. The wrong must be righted. Clearly the Coyotes started that slide. Time to exact revenge.

Or, you know, something like that.

The Coyotes have their own injury issues with Martin Hanzal, Mike Smith, and Boyd Gordon all out. That may not sound like much to Wild fans who have watched players drop like flies, but it is a big deal to the Yotes lineup. The fans aren't real confident right now, yet the team is still certainly hanging around. With 40 points, they sit in fourth in their division, but are only two points from first place. Yes, in the Pacific.

In order to win this game, the Wild need to bring the tenacity they brought against the Predators and the Oilers, though the big fights may not be necessary. The Coyotes aren't the type that are going to try to hurt someone, and they aren't exactly a chippy team. At least, not against the Wild. This is a pretty mundane game, if those exist at this point. Play the system, play a full 60 minutes, and this should be winnable.

Five Questions:

  1. Who steps in with yet another injury to the lineup?
  2. Can Backstrom start the next winning streak?
  3. Top line playing well. Does that continue?
  4. Can the team defense shore itself up and give up less than three?
  5. Looks like another sellout crowd in Saint Paul. Can the Wild help them ring in the New Year on a positive?
Enjoy the Wild's warm up songs before the game: