Captain Mikko Koivu skating for the #mnwild— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) January 7, 2016
#mnwild: Parise-Koivu-Zucker; Niederreiter-Granlund-Pominville; Vanek-Haula-Coyle; Porter-Stoll-Carter— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) January 7, 2016
There were a lot of banged up bodies over the last road trip but Minnesota is close to getting healthy. For starters, Mikko Koivu (who was in the hospital in Columbus for spitting up blood) is good to go and will center Zach Parise and Jason Zucker. Those three scored the lone goal in Sunday's loss to Florida. Despite Parise netting a hat trick (with Granlund assisting on two of the goals) Yeo wants to change things up again. Thomas Vanek and Charlie Coyle drop to the third line with Erik Haula. Jason Pominville moves up to the second like Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter.
Devan Dubnyk will start again for the Wild tonight. Darcy Kuemper was on the ice this morning too and is close to spelling Doobie was once again. Despite steady play from Dubnyk, Minnesota needs Kuemper back with a ton of games i(n a limited amount of time) left in January to not burn out Dubnyk.
Dave Hakstol is at the helm and makes his first appearance to the (Ralph Engelstad South-Arena) Xcel since joining the Flyers. Hakstol coached at the University of North Dakota and made the rare jump from college to the pros this past June. Hakstol is a pretty intense guy and in my opinion a nice fit for that team. The Flyers have treaded water for the most of the season and are a just game over .500 despite ranking 29th in goals per game. The same team that has Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds (does he count?).
But their is a youth movement coming their way, Shayne Gostisbehere (a national champions with the Union Dutchmen a few years ago) is getting hot, earning seven points (2G, 5A) in his last eight games. The Flyers also had seven prospects representing their countries at the World Junior Championships tied for the most from one NHL team in the tournament. Yes Phildelphia is "tough guy town" but hopefully they are patient with Hakstol because this team can be dangerous soon. Steve Mason will start in net tonight for Philly who came into the season as a starter but has been mostly outplayed by backup Michal Neuvirth who is second in the NHL in save percentage.
Devan Dubnyk is 2-2-0 with a 2.27 GAA, a .929 SV% and one shutout in four career starts.
Minnesota is 8-4-1 against the Eastern Conference this season, including a 4-2-0 record against the Metropolitan Division.
Zach Parise leads the Wild with 37 points (18- 19=37) in 43 games vs. the Flyers.
Jason Pominville has30 points (12-18=30) in 32 matchups.