Hope you had a happy holidays, but more importantly we hope the Wild did too. After dropping four-in-a-row Minnesota will try to break out their slump and pick up some crucial points in a crowded central division. Mike Yeo has changed up the lines to hopefully break this team out of the slump.
Despite a better production from an offensive standpoint, Thomas Vanek is once again banished from a top six role. I dont see how him playing with Haula or Cooke will get him "going." We obviously know he doesnt back-check and the effort level may not be where it should, but moving him out of where he's comfortable baffles me. Granted this team is in a massive a funk and Yeo knows something needs to change.
Jason Zucker is out tonight because of the stomach virus that has been floating around. Justin Falk and Stu Bickel will dress tonight to give Minnesota that extra "physical" presence. Darcy Kuemper will start tonight and all of the Wild players, Mike Yeo hopes he had a very, very, very merry Christmas. Kuemper has posted some UGLY numbers in his last seven appearances, posting a 860 save percentage and 4.23 goals-against average. Minnesota is 6-1-2 at Xcel Energy Center against Winnipeg/Atlanta. Both teams have played well in the Central Division this season; the Wild sit at 6-1-2 versus the division, while the Jets are 6-3-2 against the Central. Check back at 6:45 for the gamethread, and go Wild!