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Minnesota Wild vs Florida Panthers: Game 77

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Minnesota Wild (31-35-10) vs Florida Panthers (37-24-15)

Xcel Energy Center @ 7:00 PM CDTTelevision: FSN
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Florida perspective, check out Litter Box Cats

Minnesota Wild Florida Panthers

Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Devin Setoguchi
Cal Clutterbuck - Kyle Brodziak - Darroll Powe
Jason Zucker - Erik Christensen - Nick Johnson
Jed Ortmeyer - Warren Peters - Stephane Veilleux

Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser
Clayton Stoner
- Not Nick Schultz
Justin Falk
- Steven Kampfer

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Tomas Kopecky
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Wojtek Wolski - Shawn Mattias - Kris Versteeg
Marco Sturm - Jerred Smithson - Scottie Upshall

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen

There's really no point in beating around the bush, here. The real story of this game will be Zucker, and his NHL debut. Sure, Backstrom is back in net for the first time in almost a month. Falk gets back in the lneup. No one will care. The story is Zucker, and that is just fine. If the other guys wanted the story to be about them, they probably should have won a few extra games this season.

The Panthers come in atop one of the strangest divisions in the league. The Southeast is led by a team with a negative goal differential. In other words, they have given up more goals than they have scored, and are still going to the playoffs. I bet their Corsi is ridiculous.

Hopefully fans at the X will pay some respect to Theodore and Madden tonight. They deserve it. Good soldiers for the Wild last season. If you're going, give them some love.

Enjoy the game.

Five Questions:

  1. How does Zucker look in his debut?
  2. Can the team support Zucker?
  3. Backstrom back in the net. Can he win one for Zucker?
  4. Can Zucker keep it close against the Panthers?
  5. Zucker is here! Does it make any difference?
Enjoy the Wild's warm up songs before the game: