(Updated info in bold...)
Tonight the Minnesota Wild host the Dallas Stars looking to finish their homestand on a positive note. The Wild have lost five of their last six. Zach Parise returned from injury yesterday but clearly is still ailing as he did not look like his usual self. Minnesota sent down Christian Folin and recalled Gustav Olofsson to take his place. Ever since Scandella went down, Minnesota has (especially) struggled on D and hopefully Olofsson can stabilize things. Justin Fontaine has been activated from IR and will skate with Thomas Vanek and Charlie Coyle on the third line tonight. Fontaine was last seen on October 30 against the Blackhawks. Despite Parise banged up, Minnesota is beginning to get healthy again. Even Tyler Gravoc has begun skating.
Mike Yeo also shuffled the lines throughout the game yesterday looking for some type of consistency. We'll have to see what he rolls with for tonight. The good news is the Wild have bested the Stars in their last five games in St. Paul. The Wild fell to the stars one week ago, but that was in Dallas. Minnesota is 5-3-2 against the Central Division this season – no Central team has played more intra-division games than the Wild.
The Stars are still in first place in the central division owning a five-point lead on the next closest opponent. A Wild loss and a Jets win tonight, would put the Wild in second to last place (in a VERY crowded) in the central division.
Despite taking losses and on the heels of a back-back, it should be Devan Dubnyk again tonight. Darcy Kuemper gets the start tonight for the first time since October 25 when he laid a dud against the Kings. Kari Lehtonen posted the win against Minnesota last week but was laced on injured reserve earlier this week. Look for Antti Niemi to make the start tonight. Puck drop is a traditional 7pm tonight after some wacky times in St. Paul. Go Wild.