Tonight the Wild host the Blue Jackets trying to build on their (insert loud gasp) two-game winning streak. Its the first time since mid-November that Minnesota owns a winning streak. Devan Dubnyk has started both of those games and has looked impressive in limited action. Its amazing how different a team can play when a confident netminder is in. Not to say Kuemper & Backstrom are not, but man hockey is a weird game. Ryan Suter returns from his suspension tonight. Minnesota won both games without Suter and with his return the D-core tonight is rather legit.
Suter - Brodin
Spurgeon - Dumba
Scandella - Folin
Matt Dumba logged 16:11 & 12:24 in his last two games and has a good chance of staying in Minnesota for 2015 and beyond. Mike Yeo liked Jared Spurgeon on the left side and he will play on the left side again despite no professional experience playing that side before last week. The Wild reassigned Jonathon Blum & Jordan Schroeder to Iowa yesterday. There's a very good chance both Mikael Granlund & Darcy Kuemper are activated from the IR this week. Hell, both may even dress tomorrow as the Wild will square off with the Red Wings in Detroit. When Kuemper is activated, the Wild will have to make a decision on having three goalies on the roster. Whether its Kuemper going on a "conditioning stint" to Iowa or someone actually prying Niklas Backstrom away from the Wild. The goalie carousel is just heating up.
We have not heard anything on the lines, but with the Wild playing better-hockey lately id guess minimal or no changes tonight. Tomorrow will be interesting as Granlund is likely to dress and the lines will be shaken up. The Wild suffered a 3-1 loss in the first meeting against Columbus this year. Minnesota is 16-5-4 all-time against the Jackets at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota will be going against one of the best between the pipes, Sergei Bobrovsky who is 4-1-0 with a 1.55 GAA and a .944 SV% in five starts against the Wild. Ten of the last 14 games played at Xcel Energy Center have been decided by one goal and the Wild is 8-3-3 in those meetings. Check back at 6:45 for the gamethread and Go Wild!