NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 19th
(All times eastern)
New York Islanders (10-18-3) at Minnesota Wild (15-13-2), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try to avoid extending the longest
losing streak in club history when they host the lowly New York Islanders
tonight at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild lost their sixth straight game Wednesday, but the overtime setback
did give Minnesota its first point since a 4-0 victory over St. Louis on
Despite dropping the 3-2 decision to visiting Calgary, the Wild did get their
main offensive weapon back on the ice on Wednesday. Marian Gaborik, playing
for the first time since October 14, posted a goal and an assist and his
marker tied the score at 2-2 to send the game into OT.
Gaborik, who had been sidelined with a hip injury, now has two goals on the
However, Todd Bertuzzi's goal with 1:12 left in overtime, his first in 20
games, sent Calgary past Minnesota. On the game-winner, Daymond Langkow dove
inside the Wild blueline at the left point to keep a loose puck in the zone.
The disc slid all the way to the open Bertuzzi in the slot and he lifted a
backhander high and inside the right post to give Calgary the win.
Andrew Brunette had a goal and one assist for the Wild, who fell to 1-6-1 in
December. Niklas Backstrom allowed three goals on 30 shots for his fifth
defeat in six starts.
Tonight marks the second of two straight in St. Paul for the Wild, who are
8-6-2 on their home ice. Minnesota will visit St. Louis on Saturday before
returning for another two-game homestand.
The Islanders, meanwhile, have lost seven straight games and haven't won since
notching a 4-2 win over Ottawa on November 29. New York is last in the
Atlantic Division with 23 points and is also 23 points in back of the Rangers
for first place.
New York did pick up its first point since that win against the Senators by
dropping Tuesday's OT decision to visiting Washington. Alex Ovechkin's laser
wrist shot from the slot in the waning seconds of overtime lifted the Capitals
to the 5-4 win at Nassau Coliseum.
Doug Weight, Richard Park, Andy Sutton and Jon Sim scored for New York, while
Joey MacDonald allowed five goals on 40 shots in the losing effort.
On the injury front, the Islanders could be close to getting franchise
goaltender Rick DiPietro back between the pipes. DiPietro last played on
October 25 when he suffered a knee injury in a game against Carolina. The
Isles are targeting next Friday's test against Toronto as a return date for
the All-Star netminder.
The Isles are playing the first of two straight away from home tonight and are
just 5-10-1 as the visiting team this season. New York has lost six straight
road tests and last won away from Long Island on November 24 in Montreal.
Minnesota has won the last two meetings with the Isles and has taken five of
the eight all-time matchups. New York has lost three of its four games in St.
12/19 10:51:48 ET