Wild-Phoenix game preview

  • April 6, 2012 - 11:13 PM

Preview: The Wild, 4-0-1 in its past five overall and winner of five or six at home, will close the season Saturday night against the playoff-bound Coyotes. The Wild has played in five consecutive overtime games, and six of the Wild's past seven victories have come via overtime or shootout. The Coyotes stretched their winning streak to four games with a 4-1 victory at St. Louis on Friday night.

Players to watch: Wild D Nate Prosser was suspended for the final game for head-butting Chicago's Jamal Mayers in Thursday's victory. The Wild also reassigned D Tyler Cuma for Friday night's Houston Aeros game, so the Wild will have to recall two defensemen Saturday morning if D Clayton Stoner (upper body) can't play. He is doubtful. D Tom Gilbert has topped 30 minutes in five consecutive games. RW Devin Setoguchi is one goal from a 20-goal season. LW Dany Heatley, who has a team-leading 23 goals, needs a hat trick to avoid his lowest goal total in a full season. C Kyle Brodziak has 12 points in the past 14 games. Coyotes veteran Ray Whitney has 25 points in 26 games vs. the Wild.

Numbers: The Wild is 11-9 in shootouts -- including winning five of the past six -- to tie the NHL record with 20 shootouts in a season. ... In Thursday's win, Gilbert and D Marco Scandella became the first teammates since Toronto's Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle to top 34 minutes in the same game since April 11, 2006. ... The Wild has allowed the first goal 51 times (going 20-25-6 in those games) and is 15-10-5 when scoring first. The Wild will be the first team post-lockout with more wins when allowing the first goal than scoring it.

Injuries: Wild LW Matt Kassian (sports hernia), D Steve Kampfer (knee), C Matt Cullen (broken finger), D Jared Spurgeon (concussion), D Mike Lundin (sports hernia), LW/RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) and LW Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) are out. Coyotes D Kurt Sauer (postconcussion syndrome) is out.


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