The Wild, which fell out of a playoff spot last night courtesy of Colorado's win over the Anaheim Ducks, will have Darcy Kuemper in net tonight against the Edmonton Oilers.
Devan Dubnyk has been fighting a bug that has circulated the Wild's room in recent days.
Steve Michalek, the former Harvard goalie who made 18 saves last night to lead Iowa to its third straight win, has been recalled for the first time in his career. Michalek, 22, is 6-2 with Iowa this season with a 2.13 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. He'll wear No. 50 on the bench tonight.
His last name is pronounced, MIKE-eh-LECK, he says.
“The goal is to make it up here. The adrenaline’s pumping,” Michalek said of his first skate. “Almost felt like a game out there. It was fun.”
He has spent most of this season with ECHL Quad City. He is 12-8-4 with the Mallards with a 2.42 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.
“Teams I've been on, we've been winning for the most part,” Michalek said. “I've steadily gotten better, and I'm a different goalie now than I was in September.”
John Torchetti, who coached Michalek, said, "You see in the morning skate, he competes hard, really, really works, and he's done a good job with his practice habits from Traverse City. He's just gotten better every day, and really competes hard, and I really like that in a goalie."
Kuemper is 6-4-5 this season with a 2.24 goals-against average and .922 save percentage with two shutouts. He's 3-2-2 at home this season with a 2.28 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.
"We just played against them just over a week ago," Kuemper said of the Oilers. "They're a talented group up front, a lot of young skill, they can play fast, so we just have to do a good job in the neutral zone like we did last game, and try to play a man as much as we can."
If you didn't read today's article, it's on the recent rest the Wild had, starting its playoff push, the penalty kill and Zach Parise's play of late.
Jason Pominville, who has played 231 consecutive games (tied with Kyle Brodziak for the second longest ironman streak in Wild history), is out with a lower-body injury. He strained a muscle in his leg against Buffalo on Saturday. John Torchetti said he'll probably be on the three-game road trip that the team leaves for tomorrow.
Justin Fontaine will take his spot on the line with Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula.
"We think [Fontaine] is going to come in and do a good job," Torchetti said. "It's a good situation for him. We had him in a checking role before, and he's got the good hockey sense offensively to fill it in. We'll miss [Pominville] for sure, but someone else gets an opportunity, and it's good that we have extra bodies to have that opportunity to be in the lineup."
The Wild is 2-0 this season against the Oilers and is 21-3-1 against the Oilers at home since Feb. 25, 2007. The Oilers, who currently would have the second-best odds to win the draft lottery for the fifth time since 2010, have won four of their past six but are coming off a 3-0 home loss to San Jose.
Wild defenseman Ryan Suter is riding a six-game point streak and is one assist from his 38th, which would be a new Wild single-season record for defensemen. Center Mikko Koivu leads the Wild with 43 points in 55 games against Edmonton, his highest total against any team.
Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, who has allowed 10 goals in his past seven starts, should play. He was named the NHL’s First Star last week after going 3-0 with a 0.65 goals-against average and .981 save percentage. Center Connor McDavid leads all rookies with 1.06 points per game. Left wing Taylor Hall leads with 22 goals. Right wing Jordan Eberle has no points in three straight games after a point in eight of nine. Center Nail Yakupov has no points in 18 of his past 20 games.
The Wild’s 47 wins and 104 points against the Oilers are its most against any franchise. The Wild’s 25 wins against the Oilers at Xcel Energy Center is its most against any franchise. … The Wild has at least one power-play goal in 16 of the past 21 games.
The PK numbers are in that story above.
I'll be on KFAN at 4:15 p.m.
I'll be on Fox Sports North during the pregame show and first intermission tonight.
I'll be on Sirius XM Channel 91 at 3:30 p.m.