Clayton Stoner and friends will at the X tonight, as the Wild look to make it two in a row. Minnesota is 24-22-5 and 13-7-4 at Xcel Energy Center against Anaheim. Stoner will be skating at the X for the first time not in a Wild sweater. Stoner was a 3rd round pick by the Wild in 2004 and skated in 227 games over five seasons. No word yet whether it will be Niklas Backstrom or Darcy Kuemper. Backstrom has seen Anaheim 16 times in his career and owns a 2.53 GAA, .912 SV% with one career shutout. The Wild lost their first matchup against the Ducks, 2-1 back in October.
The Wild have not allowed a power-play goal in 11 opportunities over its last four games and have killed 33-of-36 (91.7%) opponent power-play opportunities in its last 12 games dating back to Nov. 8. Minnesota ranks second in the NHL with an 88.9% penalty kill percentage (64-for-72). Zach Parise is just as frustrated as the fans are with the power play. He wasnt too happy with the fans booing lately, as he sounded off in the post game presser on Wednesday. Even Anaheim has had its troubles on the PP this season and they have even deadlier weapons to use on the man-advantage.
The Ducks are tied for the top spot in the Western Conference with Vancouver, as both teams have earned 37 points this season. Dating back to the start of last season, the Ducks own the best regular season record in the NHL at 70-26-13 and have posted the league's best road record at 32-15-6. Things have been good for Anaheim, lets see if the Wild can take one from the top team in the West. Check back at 6:45 for the gamethread.