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Preview: Jets @ Wild

Tonight Minnesota hosts its nearest rival in the Winnipeg Jets in St. Paul.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Minnesota Wild wrap up a three game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets. Both Minnesota and Winnipeg have 18 points this season inside a crowded Central Division. The Wild are 6-2-3 lifetime at Xcel Energy Center against Winnipeg. Having earned points in nine of its last twelve games against the Jets (6-3-3) with six of the last seven being one-goal games.

Tonight will mark the second straight game that someone is making their NHL debut with Minnesota. Kurtis Gabriel has the honors and will skate on the fourth line with Ryan Carter and Chris Porter. Gabriel has earned high praise from just about every coach and offical that has spent time with him. He was a third round pick in 2013 and is a big-pup at 6-4, 212 pounds, bringing a tremendous size advantage that Minnesota has not had much of this season. Minnesota needs someone to pickup the physicality with Marco Scandella not with the team for personal reasons. Its sounding like he wont be in Carolina on Thursday either but the Wild hope to have him back soon. Nate Prosser will skate on the third pairing with Christian Folin instead. And in case you missed it, Zach Parise has been ruled for the four game road trip Minnesota will embark on after tonight's game.

The Wild rode the back of Devan Dubnyk last time out as the Wild scored just one goal in their win over Tampa. In fact, Minnesota’s last three goals have been scored by defensemen. With Parise down and Erik Haula leading the way on an all Golden Gopher line, the Wild are trying to find consistency while being crutched to injuries. Charlie Coyle tormented us once again had a strong game on the wing in his first game with snake-bitten Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville. Lets see if they can light the lamp tonight against a very physical Winnipeg team. Puck drop is at 7pm tonight with a gamethread opening at 6:30. Go Wild!