A banged-up Minnesota Wild squad looks for revenge tonight against the Red Wings in Detroit.
With injuries to defensemen Clayton Stoner and Keith Ballard, the club has recalled Jonathon Blum from Iowa of the American Hockey League. In addition, rugged fourth line role player Mike Rupp missed the trip with an illness; 2001 third round pick Stephane Veilleux has been recalled as extra insurance.
Without two lefties in Stoner and Ballard, there’s a good chance the second pairing of Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin will be split up. Elk River, Minnesota native Nate Prosser has shown he’s more than capable of playing in a top-4 role this season, meaning he’ll likely be playing alongside one of them–probably Brodin. If so, Scandella will be paired with Blum, a 2007 first round pick of the Nashville Predators who is looking for new life in the Wild organization.
Blum isn’t the only one looking for new life. Minnesota is 2-3-4 in its past nine games and 13-16-6 on the road with five of the remaining 11 games away from the friendly confines of the Xcel Energy Center. However, the “X” hasn’t been so friendly as of yet, either, as the team has gone 1-1-3 in its past five home games. Minnesota is up four points over eighth place Phoenix and six over ninth place Dallas. What’s more–for the most part–the few remaining games are going to be against teams still in playoff contention. There are no easy games, which means the Wild needs to bring its A+ game every night.
Minnesota is 3-3-4 in their past 10 games, it’s cause for concern, but one could also argue the team has managed to collect points in seven of 10 games. Now is not the time to panic, but it is time to refocus and end the season with tickets punched for a playoff berth. It all starts with a strong response tonight after yesterday’s 3-2 loss to these same Red Wings. We’ll see you right back here afterwards for Scott’s game recap.