Gameday: Wild at Columbus
- April 7, 2013 - 12:54 AM
5 P.M. at Columbus • FSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: After back-to-back losses in San Jose and Los Angeles, the Wild, which has lost three in a row and four of five since a seven-game winning streak, wraps up a three-game trip in an arena that’s rarely friendly. The Wild is 6-11-4 all-time in Columbus but 22-16-6 all-time against the Blue Jackets. Former Wild coach Todd Richards’ Blue Jackets are 11-3-5 in their past 19 games and 9-0-3 in their past 12 at home, not losing in regulation at home since Feb. 10.
Players to watch: RW Marian Gaborik, the all-time leading scorer in Wild history, makes his Blue Jackets home debut. He scored the winning goal in his Jackets’ debut Thursday in Nashville. Gaborik’s final game with the Wild was in Columbus on April 11, 2009 (two goals, one assist). G Niklas Backstrom, who gave up two goals on two shots in Los Angeles on Thursday, will start. He is 20-2-4 in his first start after being pulled with a 1.91 goals-against average, 16-0-2 since March 26, 2008 with a 1.69 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. F Pierre-Marc Bouchard has 24 points in 27 games against Columbus; C Mikko Koivu has 24 in 24.
Numbers: The Wild has allowed the first goal in five consecutive games after scoring first in 10 of 11. … In April 2006-08, Backstrom was 7-1. Since then, he’s 0-7-3 in April.
Injuries: Wild C Matt Cullen (lower body), RW Dany Heatley (upper body) and G Josh Harding (symptoms related to MS) are out. Blue Jackets D Ryan Murray (shoulder) is out and RW Jared Boll (upper body), D Tim Erixon (upper body) and D Nikita Nikitin (upper body) are questionable.
© 2013 Star Tribune