Wild-Florida game preview

  • Updated: February 22, 2012 - 11:17 PM

Preview: The Wild is coming off a 2-0 home victory over Boston on Sunday, one that ended a seven-game winless streak. ... With 65 points, Florida is tied with Winnipeg atop the Southeast Division, but the Panthers have four games in hand and own the division tiebreaker. Still, Florida has lost three consecutive games and has been outscored 10-3 in that stretch.

Players to watch: Wild G Niklas Backstrom had a career-high 48-save shutout victory over Boston. He is 3-0-1 all-time vs. Florida. C Matt Cullen's power-play goal vs. Boston ended his 15-game streak without a goal. C Chad Rau's goal vs. Boston was his second career game-winner in five NHL games. Florida G Jose Theodore is expected to play, his first start vs. Minnesota since leaving the Wild as a free agent. Theodore has stopped 64 of 67 shots (.955 save percentage) his past two games. C Stephen Weiss will play in his 614th game with the Panthers, a franchise record. LW Tomas Fleischmann has six points in his past six games.

Numbers: The Wild has scored 17 goals in its last 16 road games and is 2-11-3 in that span. Against Florida, the Wild is 12-for-50 (24 percent) all-time on power play, including 12-for-41 (29.3 percent) in the past nine meetings. Florida is 3-for-39 all-time on the power play vs. Minnesota.

Injuries: Wild C Mikko Koivu (undisclosed), G Josh Harding (lower body), D Mike Lundin (lower body), Carson McMillan (lower body), D Clayton Stoner (lower body), RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), RW Jarod Palmer (concussion) and LW Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) are out. Florida G Jacob Markstrom (knee), D Ed Jovanovski (hand), D Dmitry Kulikov (knee), LW/RW Scottie Upshall (sports hernia), LW Marco Sturm (knee/groin), D Jason Garrison (lower body), C John Madden (lower body and RW Matt Bradley (upper body) are out.

KENT YOUNGBLOOD

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