Gameday preview: Wild at Pittsburgh

  • Updated: December 18, 2013 - 10:32 PM

wild gameday

6 p.m. at Pittsburgh • consol energy center • FSN, 100.3-FM

Preview: The Penguins, who defeated the Rangers 4-3 in a shootout on Wednesday night in New York, lead the Metropolitan Division and have the best record in the Eastern Conference. But Pittsburgh has been ravaged by injuries, particularly on defense. Five of its top eight defensemen are sidelined.

Players to watch: Penguins C Sidney Crosby (19 goals-30 assists—49 points) leads the NHL in scoring. He has played only five times against the Wild and has three goals and four assists in those games. C Evgeni Malkin (9-32—41) leads the league in assists, but he missed Wednesday’s game against the Rangers because of a leg injury and is not expected to play against the Wild, coach Dan Blysma said. G Marc-Andre Fleury tops the NHL with 20 victories. Wild G Josh Harding, who leads the league with a 1.51 goals-against average, went on injured reserve Wednesday. G Niklas Backstrom (2.93 goals-against average in 12 games) will start. LW Zach Parise (15-12—27) is the Wild’s leading scorer.

Numbers: Fleury is 0-5 vs. Wild, the only team he hasn’t beaten in his career. The Wild is 9-3-1 against Pittsburgh, including 6-1 in the Steel City. Wild LW Dany Heatley has 31 points in 28 games against the Penguins. Wild W Matt Cooke played five seasons with Pittsburgh, and Penguins W Pascal Dupuis played six seasons with the Wild.

Injuries: Wild C Mikael Granlund (concussion) and G Harding (adjustments to medication for multiple sclerosis) are out. For the Penguins D Paul Martin (leg), RW Jayson Megna (lower body), D Rob Scuderi (ankle), D Brooks Orpik (concussion), C Andrew Ebbett (ankle), RW Chuck Kobasew (lower body), D Deryk Engelland (suspension), G Tomas Vokoun (pelvis), LW Tanner Glass (hand), LW Beau Bennett (wrist) and D Kris Letang (upper body) are out. Malkin (leg) is doubtful.

CHRIS MILLER

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