Game Preview: Arizona Coyotes @ Minnesota Wild


It’s the ninth annual Hockey Day in Minnesota, and the Wild are hosting the Arizona Coyotes at 8:00 CST.

Minnesota broke up a terrible stretch of recent play with a 7-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres Thursday. It was the largest margin of victory in the franchise’s history. Devan Dubnyk earned an easy shutout in his Wild debut and will return to the crease tonight to face his former team.

Arizona enters play on a three-game skid. They are winless against Minnesota in two tilts this season.

Darcy Kuemper had a shutout in a 2-0 win October 23rd, and defenseman Jared Spurgeon recorded two assists.

On December 13th, Minnesota took a 4-3 shootout win, with captain Mikko Koivu scoring the winner.

Minnesota, 19-19-5 on the season, is 6-1-1 so far on Hockey Day in Minnesota. Jason Pominville’s 36 points in 43 games (nine goals, 27 assists) lead the Wild in scoring.

But they will be aided by the return of Marco Scandella to the lineup. The defenseman that is enjoying a breakout season (with nine goals and six assists in 34 games) has been out the last five games after getting hit in the head with a puck against the San Jose Sharks on January 6th.

The Coyotes, 16-23-4, are paced in points by Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker, both with 28 in 43 games. Boedker is hot entering play, riding a four-game goal-scoring streak. Mike Smith will likely man the net.

The two points at stake tonight are huge for Minnesota. The Los Angeles Kings, holding the final wild card spot, are seven points ahead of the Wild. They are 14 points up on a Coyotes team that doesn’t look like it’ll make any sort of playoff push.

Be sure to follow @FsGonePuckWild on Twitter throughout the game. Whether you’re watching at home or in the starting lineup, it’ll be a good time.

You can tune into Fox Sports North for all the Hockey Day coverage, including the University of Minnesota game against the rival University of Wisconsin at 5:00 CST.