Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings Round Two : Preview


Mar 22, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle (3) scores a penalty shot goal in the third period against the Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) at Xcel Energy Center. Detroit Red Wings wins 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are in Detroit for the back end of the Home and Home series with the Red Wings on national TV.  Puck drop is 6:30 pm Central Time on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).  The Wild are trying to avoid a sweep after losing a close game Saturday by a 3-2 final score.  For Minnesota the game plan is basically the same as game 1.  They did a lot of things right last night but 2 major failures on the penalty kill.  Minnesota did limit the Red Wings to two power plays, BUT Detroit scored on both of them.  As any coach would say, “UNACCEPTABLE!!”.  The Wild are going to have to stop the Red Wings power play tonight if they hope to take the two points.

Heading into action today the Wild are 4 points up on Phoenix and 6 points up on Dallas for the top Wild Card Spot in the Western Conference.  The Win last night for Detroit vaulted them into the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.  These two games are some great hockey between two teams fighting for their playoff lives in a Home and Home series.  It doesn’t get any better than this for a regular season game.  Now Minnesota just needs to win tonight.  I’m expecting an even more desperate effort from the Wild tonight.

Mar 22, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Cooke (24) and Detroit Red Wings defense Brian Lashoff (23) puch in front of the net in the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Detroit Red Wings wins 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The forward lines changed a bit during the game last night as Charlie Coyle went into beast mode, playing a physical, high level game.  His night was highlighted by a penalty shot goal, during which he made Detroit’s Jimmy Howard look silly.  I’d expect those lines from the latter stages of last night’s game to be what Wild Coach Yeo uses today.

Those lines being:

Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville
Matt Moulson-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter-Erik Haula-Dany Heatley
Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Justin Fontaine

Defensively the Wild held the Red Wings to a single 5 on 5 goal last night.  The top two D-pairs should remain the same for tonight’s action in Detroit. Clayton Stoner and Keith Ballard are now injured and stayed in Minnesota.  The Wild have called up Stephane Veilleux and Jon Blum to bloster the lineup.  Ryan Suter contributed on the offense last night with a beauty of a pass that Koivu one-timed home for a power play marker for Minnesota.

The pairings tonight are expected to be:

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella-Jonas Brodin
Nate Prosser-Jon Blum

Look for Ilya Bryzgalov in goal for Minnesota on this second game in two nights.  Bryz brings a record of 6-8-7 a goals against of 2.86 and a save % at .911 into this game.

I’ll be back after the action on the NBC Sports Network with a recap and some analysis.  This should be a heck of a game tonight.