Tonight the Minnesota Wild conclude a four-game homestand against the Detroit Red Wings. Minnesota has lost two of their last three on home ice and despite the early season success in St. Paul, that has not been the case lately. The past six games between the Wild and Red Wings in St. Paul have been decided by one goal. Minnesota has earned a point in 10 of its last 12 meetings against Detroit at the Xcel Energy Center.
After a lethargic effort in the last few losses, Mike Yeo is changing things up tonight. Justin Fontaine is out of the lineup, Yeo told reporters that he wants Fontaine to take a step in his career. Unbiasedly I could not agree more. Fontaine had a nagging injury to start the year, but has looked non-existent/replaceable in his last few games despite the analytics saying something else. Erik Haula will center the third line with Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle.
Darcy Kuemper will also start for the Wild tonight. Kuemper is 1-1-1 with a 1.93 GAA and a .933 SV% in three games (two starts) against Detroit. Dubnyk is dealing with an upper-body injury, it is not serious but Kuemper has played well all month. Dylan Larkin (the rookie phenomen) had been banged up but he will dress for the Red Wings tonight. Petr Mrazek will start for the Wings tonight. Mrazek is 1-1-0 with a 3.38 GAA and a .887 SV% in two starts. Puck drop is at 7pm. Go Wild!