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Minnesota Wild vs New York Islanders: Game 64

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Minnesota Wild (33-24-6) vs New York Islanders (23-32-9)

Nassau Coliseum @ 6:00PM CDT Television: KSTC 45 (HD)
Listen live on Wild.com, or locally at 106.1 & 107.5 FM

For the Islanders perspective, check out Lighthouse Hockey

Minnesota Wild
New York Islanders

Andrew Brunette - Matt Cullen - Antti Miettinen
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Kyle Brodziak - Martin Havlat
Eric Nystrom - John Madden - Cal Clutterbuck
Brad Staubitz - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Clayton Stoner - Greg Zanon
Nick Schultz -Brent Burns
Jared Spurgeon - Marek Zidlicky

Niklas Backstrom
Jose Theodore

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - P.A. Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau - Josh Bailey - Justin DiBenedetto
Matthew Martin - Zenon Knopoka - Michael Haley

Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Jack Hillen - Mark Katic
Ty Wishart - Bruno Gervais

Al Montoya
Nathan Lawson

If ever there were a team that the Wild should beat, and beat badly, this is it. While they are all in the NHL for a reason, once you get past the first line of the lineup above, there aren't many names anyone outside of the Islanders fan base will recognize. Mark Katic? Al Montoya? Yikes.

The Wild will go into this one with a clear vision of a victory. The problem is, in games like this, teams often overlook their opponent and wind up looking silly in the process. The Wild cannot overlook anyone on the roster, and will have to play like they are playing the Red Wings. Crushing a weaker opponent is OK. It really is.

The Wild have fallen out of playoff position in the past two games, and they need to stop the bleeding. This is a perfect game to do so, and with the Rangers tomorrow, could come out of New York with a winning streak. All they need to do is know they can win, and then go out and do it.

The domination the Wild once held versus Eastern opponents is gone with a 5-6-1 record this season, but these are two very beatable teams, especially tonight's opponent. If the Wild lose to the Isles, they need to go on some kind of retreat and find themselves, because any team that can beat Vancouver had better be able to beat the Islanders.

What do they have to do to win tonight? Show up. No, really. Show up. They didn't show up against Chicago until it was too late. While the Isles are not the Hawks, the Wild still need to come out fast and play hard. Otherwise, they will roll into Manhattan with an embarrassment around their necks.

Five Questions:

  1. Playing a squad full of no names, can the Wild show some killer instinct?
  2. Can the Wild find a way to shut down Tavares?
  3. Will any Okposo nut jobs fans wax poetic about what he would mean to the Wild?
  4. The Wild need this one, on so many levels. Can they pull out the easy victory it should be?
  5. Does Backstrom have to win this one on his own, or does someone else show up?