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Gameday preview: Phoenix at Wild

  • November 26, 2013 - 8:24 PM

wild gameday

7 p.m. vs. Phoenix • Xcel Center • FSN, 100.3-FM

Preview: The Wild, after a 2-2 road trip and coming off a 3-0 loss at St. Louis, returns home to play four of its next five. It has won six in a row at home and 10 of its past 11 after an 0-0-2 start. Phoenix, sitting in eighth in the West, is 0-2-1 in its past three. This is the first meeting.

Players to watch: G Niklas Backstrom is expected to start for Minnesota. He is 13-9 with a 2.19 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and three shutouts in 22 starts against Phoenix. C Mikko Koivu has 13 points in the past 10 games. F Nino Niederreiter has eight points in his past 12 games. Coyotes D Oliver-Ekman Larsson is tied for eighth among defensemen with 17 points. C Martin Hanzal leads with 20 points in 21 games.

Numbers: The Wild is 6-6-3 against .500 or better teams, 9-0-1 against below .500 teams. …. The Wild has allowed 26 5-on-5 goals, fewest in the NHL. … The Coyotes rank fourth in the NHL at 3.17 goals per game but surprisingly rank 27th at 3.17 goals against per game.

Injuries: Wild leading scorer Zach Parise (foot) is out. D Keith Ballard (broken ribs) is probable. G Josh Harding (leg), C Mikael Granlund (upper body) and RW Torrey Mitchell (leg) are questionable. Coyotes LW Shane Doan (lower body), who leads with 11 goals, and D Zbynek Michalek (lower body) are questionable. LW Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) is out.

MICHAEL RUSSO

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