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Preview: Panthers @ Wild

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Bjugstad and Luongo lead the Panthers into St. Paul.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Minnesota Wild host the Florida Panthers as two identical teams are battling for playoff spots. Minnesota has 57 points, Florida has 59 points and both teams sit at 9th place in their respective conferences. Nick Bjugstad is leading Florida in points and has been a big reason why the Panthers are relevant. The former Golden Gopher is expecting about 150 friends and family for tonight's game. Despite a much better Florida team, the Panthers have never won in regulation at the X. Minnesota owns a 11-2-3 record all-time and are 5-0-2 at Xcel Energy Center. To make matters worse for Florida, they plan to start Roberto Luongo, who absolutely LOVEESSSS to play in St. Paul. Okay love is strong word, as the goalie owns a record 3-9-3 all-time in St. Paul with a 3.42 goals-against average and .879 save percentage in 15 starts and has been pulled in five starts. So yeah, he loves St. Paul.

Minnesota will start Devan Dubnyk for the 100th straight time tonight. Dubnyk allowed just one goal in a overtime loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday. Minnesota has recalled Stephane Veilleux who will skate in his 500th career game tonight and sent down Chirstian Folin to Iowa. Mike Yeo wanted Veilleux's leadership  and penalty killing to add depth to thinning Minnesota roster that lost Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter to the IR. Lines have been shaken up for tonight too...

Parise - Koivu - Pominville

Vanek - Granlund - Schroeder

Niederreiter - Coyle - Fontaine

Veilleux - Haula - Brodziak

The 2nd line intrigues me with two former gophers and a healthy Mikael Granlund. Clearly Mike Yeo wants Nino on more of a checking role with Coyle and Fontaine but Chuck Fletcher has been vocal of all three taking bigger roles with the injuries pilling up. Minnesota is looking to earn a nine-game point streak for the first time since earning points in 10 consecutive games, March 8-27, 2007 (9-0-1). Check back at 6:45 for the gamthread.