Minnesota Wild Try To Avoid Season Sweep From Anaheim


For the third and final time of the year, the Minnesota Wild host the Anaheim Ducks tonight in a potential first-round playoff match-up. This is the first of two games that the Wild will play this weekend against Stanley Cup contending teams, the other being Saturday in St. Louis. The Wild are going into this game with fresh legs and plenty of rest. They haven’t played since Tuesday, a commanding 6-2 win over the Devils. The Ducks were in Calgary Wednesday night, playing a Flames team that knows all too well about comebacks.

Anaheim lost their third straight game after coughing up an early 2-0 lead. John Gibson gave up five unanswered goals resulting in a 6-3 loss. Coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t place any blame on his goaltender after the game but expressed displeasure with his defence.

"“We make some really bad reads on them, we don’t take a guy in front of the net, and there’s nothing our goalie can do about these shots. Our goalie, I didn’t think, could do much on any of them. I didn’t think he was any sort of the problem whatsoever.”"

We know the Ducks can score, any team with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will. What is deceiving about Anaheim is their 21st ranked GAA. Their goaltending and defense has been mediocre at best this season, forcing management to bring in James Wisniewski in hopes of filling a glaring need. Their young goalie tandem (Gibson starts tonight) has strong potential, but has not fully reached it. Their current skid of three straight losses is a reality check for the conference favorites. While still leading the Pacific division, they have plenty of their own questions needing answers before the playoffs begin.

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The first key to the game states the obvious, attack the Ducks where they’re struggling as of late. Minnesota needs consistency in front of the net. The second line of Nino Niederreiter, Mikko Koivu and Chris Stewart was great Tuesday night for the Wild, and can provide just that. After the game Tuesday, Yeo stated that it was Stewart’s “best game yet in a Wild sweater.”

Sean Bergenheim stays on the fourth line tonight and looks to carry over momentum from Tuesday after scoring his first goal with Minnesota. Fans have already been hard on him for being what he is, a bottom six guy. Some fans are hard to please.

On a lighter note, how sweet has it been to watch Jason Pominville start to come around. He has four goals in his last six games including this dandy.

Expect another solid effort from the top trio tonight against one of the best first lines in hockey.

Tonight’s game vs. the Ducks could very well be a glimpse of Minnesota’s third all time playoff series with Anaheim. We took a glance at it in yesterday’s possible playoff preview weekend article, and reviewed the bad blood between these teams this season. Whether it was Ryan Kesler‘s hit on Mikael Granlund with 0.3 seconds left in the game, Keith Ballard‘s hip check on Perry that sidelined him for a month, or former Wild D-man Clayton Stoner taking jabs at Yeo for not distributing minutes evenly to his blue line, this one could have a playoff feel for sure.


I don’t expect Coach Yeo to make any changes to Minnesota’s lines on Friday. All four lines played well Tuesday and really showed off the depth Fletcher has accrued. Saturday Jordan Schroeder could slide back in somewhere for the second game of their back-to-back, I just don’t see it happening tonight. It’s Devan Dubnyk‘s net tonight for his 26th consecutive start in Minnesota.

Zach Parise-Granlund-Pominville


Thomas VanekCharlie CoyleJustin Fontaine

Bergenheim-Kyle BrodziakErik Haula

Ryan SuterJonas Brodin

Jordan LeopoldJared Spurgeon

Nate ProsserMatt Dumba


Scratches: Christian Folin, Jordan Schroeder











I think the Wild have a good shot at winning this game for the simple fact at how each team has been playing of late. Wild win 4-2.

As far as standings, Minnesota still holds the top wildcard spot with 81 points but will need to keep pace with Chicago if there are hopes of catching them. They currently are five points up on the Wild. The LA Kings jumped over Winnipeg and now hold the second spot with 79 points. They’ll play Saturday when they host Central Division leading Nashville Predators.

Devan Dubnyk’s not looking at the standings anymore and advises his teammates to do the same.

"“If we win our games, it doesn’t matter what happens anywhere else.”"

Enjoy the game and be sure to tune back into Gone Puck Wild for the the official Game Recap.

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