NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 2nd
(All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (12-10-1) at Minnesota Wild (15-7-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The first-place Minnesota Wild will aim for a third
straight victory tonight, when they welcome the New Jersey Devils for an
interconference clash at Xcel Energy Center.
The Vancouver Canucks were heavy favorites to win the Northwest Division this
year, but the Wild are currently on top with 33 points -- four more than the
Minnesota is coming off consecutive wins over Tampa Bay and Edmonton, and
Wednesday's shootout victory over the Oilers was the club's 12th win in its
last 16 trips to the ice (12-4-0).
Kyle Brodziak scored in the sixth round of the shootout to lift the Wild to
the 3-2 victory in Edmonton. Brodziak and Devin Setoguchi scored in the second
period for the Wild and Niklas Backstrom earned the win with 28 saves.
Each team scored three times over the first five rounds of the shootout.
Edmonton's Ryan Smyth failed to beat Backstrom with a backhander, leaving the
door open for Minnesota. Brodziak put the game away with a wrister.
"I try to make it look like I'm going to my back hand then try to pull it
quickly to my forehand as quickly as I can and then go five hole," Brodziak
said. "I don't even know what to say, I'm so glad it went in, I'm pretty giddy
right now but I'm just happy we got the two points and pretty proud of the
group right now."
One of the Wild's top forwards, Cal Clutterbuck, is questionable for tonight's
game after suffering a thigh injury in a knee-on-knee collision with
Edmonton's Ryan Whitney.
Clutterbuck has seven goals this year and is trailing Setoguchi and Matt
Cullen by one marker for the team lead.
Wild forward Darroll Powe is also questionable for tonight after sustaining a
charley horse in Wednesday's game.
Minnesota is 9-4-1 as the host this year and after tonight's game the Wild
will embark on a five-game road trip. The swing begins with Sunday's tilt in
The Devils, meanwhile, hope to avoid just their second three-game losing
streak of the season when they take the ice tonight in St. Paul. New Jersey
began its four-game road trip on a sour note this Wednesday, losing a 6-1
decision to the Colorado Avalanche. Ryan O'Reilly had a goal and two assists
for the Avs as New Jersey fell to 7-6-0 as the road team this season.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone goal for the Devils, but also had a minus-four
rating on the night. Martin Brodeur gave up all six goals on 25 shots.
"It was a pretty bad, I don't know what else to say," said New Jersey captain
Devils forward Dainius Zubrus is questionable for tonight after sustaining an
injury to his right ankle on Wednesday. Defenseman Andy Greene could miss a
second straight game with an undisclosed injury.
The Wild posted a 2-1 win last season in New Jersey to end a five-game winless
streak in this series. The Devils have won their last two tilts in St. Paul.
12/02 10:50:31 ET