A regulation win at home by the Wild over the Vancouver Canucks tonight would move the Wild into a tie with the Canucks with 28 points. But with tiebreakers, the Wild would technically be first in the division.
Three weeks ago, the Canucks were off to an 8-2-2 start and running away with the Northwest. But they're 3-4-4 in their past 11 and have one win in their past six. The Wild has climbed back in thanks to an 8-4-1 stretch.
"They're not handing out first-prize in our division tonight, but this is just another step along the way," coach Mike Yeo said. "Certainly, as a club we have to be excited about this opportunity. ... We're going to be ready to put a lot on the line tonight."
Niklas Backstrom gets the start for a rare back-to-back for the veteran. In his career, he has started consecutive games 18 times. He is 9-6-3 with a 2.94 goals against average and .914 save percentage. He is 1-2-3 in the last six back ends of his back-to-backs. He last started one Feb. 24, 2012.
When he has started back-to-backs, only four of the back ends have come at home.
Same skaters tonight, meaning same lines and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mikael Granlund and Nate Prosser are scratched.
Update: Tom Gilbert is sick, Chuck Fletcher says. Prosser will play.
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