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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 19th (All times eastern)

Minnesota Wild (17-14-3) at Ottawa Senators (17-13-4), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Wild didn't get off to the best of starts with regards to their road schedule, but they have turned it around as of late. They hope that momentum can carry over into Ottawa.

That is where Minnesota finds itself tonight for a matchup with the Senators at Scotiabank Place, but the club also hopes it can get some new equipment there on time.

The Wild have won five of their last seven on the road since starting the season 2-9-2 as the guest, with their latest win coming on Thursday in Montreal. Minnesota got goals by Cal Clutterbuck, Mikko Koivu and Robbie Earl in a 3-1 victory that also featured 30 saves by Niklas Backstrom.

"Every time we had guys on the ice, they were really committed to playing a strong defense, because [the Canadiens] are a skill team, so you have to be strong in your own end to beat them," Backstrom said.

The win was Minnesota's second in a row and improved it to 10-2-1 since a four-game slide.

The Wild, though, haven't had much luck versus the Senators, especially in Ottawa. Minnesota has just two wins and a tie in the eight all-time meetings, and has lost two of three games played in Ottawa.

The Wild blew a three-goal lead in the only meeting between the teams last year, a 5-3 triumph by Ottawa. Owen Nolan had two goals and an assist in the setback, but he has missed the last three games due to a leg injury that landed him on injured reserve.

Meanwhile, Minnesota is left scrambling for gear after its equipment van caught fire in Ottawa on Friday. No one was hurt, but some of the Wild's equipment was damaged. Assistant equipment manager Brent Proulx was scheduled to head back to Minnesota last night to gather replacement gear.

The Senators, meanwhile, scored short handed twice in a rally that featured five unanswered goals. Daniel Alfredsson had one of the short-handed markers and two assists, while Chris Phillips notched the other goal while down a man.

Ottawa returns home tonight after a 4-2 setback in New Jersey last night. Alexandre Picard and Jarkko Ruutu both scored second-period goals, but Brian Elliott allowed four tallies on 22 shots faced to take the loss. He was coming off a 22-save shutout of Buffalo on Wednesday.

"These guys usually don't give up much in their own zone, so at least we can take that out of the loss and feel better going forward about our offensive game," Picard noted.

The Senators should enjoy a return trip to Scotiabank Place, where they will play two straight and are 12-4-3 this season. They are just 5-9-1 on the road.

12/19 10:41:11 ET


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