Gameday: Phoenix at Wild
- December 31, 2011 - 12:54 AM
Preview: With its eight-game winless streak put to bed after a 4-3 victory over Edmonton on Thursday, the Wild faces a Phoenix team that has gone 0-3-1 in its past four games.
Players to watch: D Marek Zidlicky is coming off what Wild coach Mike Yeo said are his two best games of the season, including a three-assist, plus-3 performance against Edmonton. C Mikko Koivu has a point in nine consecutive games (5-7--12) and in 16 of his past 17. RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard has three goals in his past five games. G Niklas Backstrom is 11-6 vs. Phoenix. ... LW Ray Whitney leads the Coyotes with 33 points and has three goals and five points in his past six games. RW Mikkel Boedker had both goals in Thursday's 3-2 loss at Colorado. With G Mike Smith on injured reserve, Jason LaBarbera has gotten most of the action.
Numbers: Four of the Wild's past six games with Phoenix have been decided by a goal, with the Wild winning two of them. LW Dany Heatley has a team-best 12 goals. He has scored the Wild's first goal eight times, he has tied the score four times and is tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals. The Wild has allowed two or fewer goals in 24 of 39 games, going 19-4-1 in those games.
Injuries: RW Devin Setoguchi (knee), RW Casey Wellman (wrist), LW Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), D Clayton Stoner (lower body), D Jared Spurgeon (lower body) and RW Jarod Palmer (upper body) are out. For Phoenix, D Kurt Sauer (postconcussion syndrome), G Mike Smith (groin), C/RW Boyd Gordon (lower body) and C Martin Hanzal (facial laceration) are all on injured reserve.
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