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Russo's Rants

Michael Russo gives you complete coverage of the Minnesota Wild and the NHL

Bruins youngster Malcolm Subban to start vs. the Wild tonight

We'll find out nine or 10 hours if the Wild can take advantage of a break it's at least theoretically catching tonight.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is hurt. Former Wild goalie Anton Khudobin was injured in Boston's practice yesterday.

That means Malcolm Subban will make his his second career start tonight against the Wild. Subban, 22, the younger brother of Nashville Predators defenseman PK Subban, was pulled in his only previous NHL start Feb. 20, 2015, in St. Louis. He gave up three goals on six shots in 32 minutes of action.

This season in Providence? Pulled in two of his first three starts and he's 0-3-1 with a 4.50 goals-against average.

Coach Bruce Boudreau says he has been around long enough to know that a kid with little NHL experience doesn't mean a shoo-in victory for the opposing team.

Former Blues captain David Backes, the pride of Spring Lake Park High whom the Wild pursued in free agency, is out for the Bruins tonight, too.

Devan Dubnyk will start for the Wild tonight.

Top two lines for the Wild, 0-1-1 on the road trip and 0-2-1 on the road this season, are expected to be the same as the Islanders game:



The other two lines were mixed up:

Pulkkinen-Eriksson Ek-Pominville


Also, Jared Spurgeon skated with the Wild this morning. Boudreau said he anticipates that as long as Spurgeon felt good that he'll skate tomorrow in Buffalo and perhaps return against the Sabres on Thursday.

Boudreau also said center Erik Haula, who like Spurgeon will miss his third straight game tonight, wants to skate in Buffalo tomorrow. If he feels good, Boudreau said Haula could be a game-time decision in Buffalo.

Boudreau wants better, more consistent play tonight. The fact the Wild is allowing 3.17 goals per game and almost 30 shots a game doesn't mean he's displeased with the defensive-zone coverage.

He noted that even though the Wild "basically" gave up five goals vs. the Islanders (excluding the empty-netter), "three were of the should have been stopped kind of variety" by Darcy Kuemper.

"I'd like to break out in the middle a little more rather than jam pucks up the boards," he said, though.

By the way, as dissatisfied as Boudreau was with Kuemper the other night, he claims this won't make him rethink yet how much he uses him.

"Still, his body of work for his career indicates he’s one of the better backups, and he’ll play," the coach said.

Wild moves on from Islanders loss: 'The sun still came up'

The Wild, 0-1-1 on its four-game road trip and 0-2-1 on the road this season, practiced Monday at TD Garden in Boston in preparation for Tuesday's game against the Bruins.

"The sun still came up," coach Bruce Boudreau quipped, a reference to Sunday's 6-3 loss at the Islanders.

I wrote a story for Tuesday's paper on how the Wild still finds itself caught between the many differences in a Boudreau system and a Mike Yeo system, which could explain why the Wild had played in such spurts in all six games this season.

Lots of examples in the article, so please give that a read.

Some injury updates:

On Erik Haula's foot injury, Boudreau said, "He’s not skating today. It’s continued day to day. I talked to him today and it’s a lot better than it was. He might try to skate [Tuesday]. I’m not sure if he’s going to. That’ll be depending on the trainers, but the way he sounded today, he sounded like he might skate [Tuesday]."

On Jared Spurgeon's upper-body injury, Boudreau said, "Skated before [the team]. He’s getting stronger. I’m sure [Tuesday] he’ll skate again and then we’ll see where it is."

Top two lines in practice were the same as the Islanders game:



The other two lines were mixed up:

Pulkkinen-Eriksson Ek-Pominville


He likes the size of the Staal line, saying, "It’s a very big line. I’m hoping it’s a domination, below the circles type of line. I’ve been used to having whether it’s Getzlaf, Perry and whomever, whether it be Maroon or not, a big line like that or I had Ovechkin, Kozlov, Backstrom, big, cycling down low line too.

"So this could be that. I thought the Koivu line was great last night, but they have to be great again tomorrow. It can’t be a one and done thing. That’s what we’re trying to get is the consistency because I’ve see it in a lot of the games, but I think there’s five now where we’ve allowed 30 shots or more. We have to get that down to 25. And if we get that down 25, that means you’re playing pretty solid defensively."

The Wild is also averaging 3.17 goals against per game.

"When you lead the league in goals against the previous year, – I don’t think we (Anaheim) had six goals scored on us at all last year, but you hate it to happen. But these are growing pains," Boudreau said (Ducks actually gave up six once, but they led the league in goals against, which is his point).

The Wild's 12-4-2 all-time vs. the Bruins and 7-2 in Boston. The Bruins could have serious goaltender issues against Minnesota. No. 1 goalie Tuukka Rask didn’t practice Monday because of an injury and No. 2 Anton Khudobin was injured in Monday’s practice. That could mean Malcolm Subban, PK’s brother, may make his second career start.

Devan Dubnyk will surely start for the Wild. He is 0-5 with a 5.20 goals-against average and .865 save percentage all-time against the Bruins.

The Wild leads the NHL with 15 players who have scored at least one goal. The Wild’s first-period goal and shot differential is -2 and -25. Its second-period goal and shot differential is +5 and +21. The Wild ranks 27th in the NHL on the power play, scoring only twice on 22 chances (9.1 percent).

That's it for moi. Please give Tuesday's story a read when it's up tonight. Talk to you after the morning skate.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Wild at Boston

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Memphis

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wild at Buffalo

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

  • Gophers men's hockey at Clarkson

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

  • Gophers football at Illinois

    11 am on 100.3-FM

  • Gophers men's hockey at St. Lawrence

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • New York at Minnesota United FC

    7 pm on Ch. 29

  • Dallas at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Sacramento

    9:30 pm on FSN/NBATV, 830-AM

  • Vikings at Chicago

    7:30 pm on ESPN, 100.3/1130

Today's Scoreboard

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