Preview: The game matches two teams that have played themselves down the Western Conference standings of late. The Wild has lost four in a row, is 3-6-9 in its past 10 games and is six points out of a playoff spot with 11 games to play. The Blue Jackets have gone 1-5-4 in their past 10 and are nine points out with 12 games to play.
Players to watch: Wild RW Cal Clutterbuck has a goal in all three games vs. the Blue Jackets this season. LW Andrew Brunette is one point shy of career No. 700. G Niklas Backstrom is 7-3 with a 2.03 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage vs. Columbus, while G Jose Theodore is 6-3-2, 2.34 and .916. Columbus captain Rich Nash has not scored a goal in 11 games (he has six assists in that time), tying the longest such streak of his career.
Numbers: Should the Blue Jackets miss the playoffs, it would be the ninth time in the franchise's 10 seasons. Columbus is one of two NHL teams -- Atlanta is the other -- never to have won a playoff game. ... The Wild is 11-2-1 vs. Columbus in their past 14 meetings at Xcel Energy Center, though Columbus won there earlier in the season. But Columbus never has beaten the Wild twice at Xcel in the same season.
Injuries: Wild D Marek Zidlicky (hamstring), D Cam Barker (back) and W Guillaume Latendresse (lower body) are out. Columbus D Anton Stralman (left knee) is out. RW/LW Kristian Huselius (lower body), C/LW Andrew Murray (lower body) and RW/LW Chris Clark (lower body) are questionable.
|Washington||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Seattle||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Houston||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|NY Jets||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|Arizona||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Green Bay||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/15/13 7:30 PM|
|Baltimore||12/16/13 7:40 PM|
|New York||6:30 PM|
|LA Lakers||7:00 PM|
|New Jersey||6:00 PM|
|SE Louisiana||7:00 PM|
|Missouri State||7:00 PM|
|Ark-Little Rock||7:00 PM|
|Ark-Pine Bluff||7:00 PM|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|Alcorn State||5:00 PM|
|Ohio Valley||6:05 PM|
|Grand Canyon||7:00 PM|
|San Diego||9:00 PM|
|Long Beach St|
Poll: What's the best sports rivalry involving a Twin Cities sports team?