6:30 p.m. VS. Toronto• Xcel • FSN Plus, 100.3-FM
Preview: Former Gopher Phil Kessel is among the NHL scoring leaders for Toronto, which had the third-best record in the Eastern Conference entering play Tuesday night. The Wild, in the middle of the Western Conference pack despite a 10-4-4 record, counters with the league’s top-rated goalie in Josh Harding (1.22 goals-against average).
Players to watch: Kessel (10 goals-nine assists-19 points) has three game-winning goals. Jonathan Bernier (2.17 GAA) and James Reimer (2.30) split goaltending duties. Reimer beat the Wild 4-1 on Oct. 15 in Toronto. Bernier has three of his four career shutouts in six starts vs. the Wild. Harding should start, although coach Mike Yeo wants to work in Niklas Backstrom during a three-game homestand and didn’t reveal a starter Tuesday. RW Jason Pominville was tied for fourth in the NHL with 11 goals. He has 49 points in 51 games vs. Toronto.
Numbers: This is Toronto’s fifth game at the X, fewest among opponents in Wild history. The Leafs lead the all-time series 8-3.
Injuries: For Toronto, W Dave Bolland (ankle) and C Tyler Bozak (hamstring) are out. For the Wild, D Keith Ballard (upper body) is out and D Clayton Stoner (leg) is questionable. Ballard went on injured reserve Tuesday, and winger Mike Rupp (knee) was assigned to Iowa of the AHL on a rehab assignment.