7 P.M. VS. PITTSBURGH • FSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild, 1-1 on its four-game homestand, has the league’s fifth-best home record (13-4-1) and has given up a league-low 19 goals in December. The Penguins are 7-7-1 on the road. Five games after the Penguins fired coach Mike Johnston, Mike Sullivan earned his first victory behind the bench with a 5-2 pounding of Columbus on Monday. The Penguins, one of the league’s smallest and oldest teams, are 2-6-1 in their past nine. They beat the Wild 4-3 on Nov. 17 in Pittsburgh and have won five of the past six against Minnesota.
Players to watch: C Evgeni Malkin, who had a season-high two goals and two assists against the Wild in November, has five goals in his past six games. His 13 goals since Nov. 17 are the most in the NHL in that span. C Sidney Crosby, who missed Pittsburgh’s last game because of a lower-body injury, is having the least productive season of his career with six goals and 22 points in 32 games. Wild C Charlie Coyle has two goals in the past two games after two in the previous 21.
Numbers: The Penguins averaged the second-fewest goals per game in the Eastern Conference (2.27) and have the worst power play in the East (16.1 percent). … The Wild has the NHL’s 24th-ranked penalty kill (77.5 percent) but the NHL’s third-best power play at home (27.3 percent).
Injuries: Wild LW Chris Porter (lower body) might return. The Penguins’ Crosby likely will skate and might return. D Kris Letang (undisclosed) is questionable. RW Beau Bennett (upper body) and G Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) are out.