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Game Preview #68 - Mr. Todd's Wild Ride

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Yes, that's a lame title. That said, it's going to be a wild run to the finish, and given how things ended up with the Wild last year and Todd Richards' history in Minnesota, I figured: why not? Bonus points: look who's behind him in that picture...

John Grieshop

Columbus Blue Jackets at Minnesota Wild

March 15, 2014 - 8:00pm EDT
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, Minnesota
Radio - WBNS 97.1 - TV - Fox Sports Ohio
Opponents Blog: Hockey Wilderness
SBN's Wild vs. Blue Jackets coverage

So, as much as we were fans of the Wild the other night when they dispatched the Rangers, tonight we must turn the tables. New York won last night, and the Jackets need to win to keep pace and move back into that tie-breaker second place spot. It doesn't matter how they get there; they just need the two points.

The good news is that, while still technically a "game-time decision" per coach Richards, it is looking an awful lot like Fedor Tyutin is going to play tonight. As of now, the pairings below are how they rolled in the morning skate, but TR changed the pairings up on Thursday night mid-stream, so nothing is written in stone.

The Wild have loaded up trying to generate more offense, adding Matt Moulson and moving Mikka Koivu to the second line with him in an attempt to balance out their offensive attack. The top line is still very good with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville, and yet the Wild just cannot consistently generate offense this season. Let's hope that trend can continue tonight.

Artem Anisimov is back for Columbus tonight, and Matt Frattin is out of the lineup because of that. It looks like former Wild Nick Schultz is the odd defenseman out as well.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(34-26-6, 74 Points; 3rd division, 7th conference)

Boone Jenner Ryan Johansen Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert Brandon Dubinsky Nathan Horton
R.J. Umberger Artem Anisimov Cam Atkinson
Derek MacKenzie Mark Letestu Corey Tropp
Jack Johnson Dalton Prout
Fedor Tyutin James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin David Savard
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Minnesota Wild
(35-22-9, 79 Points; 4th Division, 7th Conference)

Zach Parise Mikael Granlund Jason Pominville
Matt Moulson Mikko Koivu Nino Niederreiter
Matt Cooke Kyle Brodziak Charlie Coyle
Dany Heatley Erik Haula Cody McCormick
Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella Jonas Brodin
Clayton Stoner Nate Prosser
Darcy Kuemper
Ilya Bryzgalov

Season Series

12/06/13 - Minnesota 0 at Columbus 4
03/15/14 - Columbus at Minnesota

Head to Head Stats

Minnesota
Columbus
2.36 (26) GPG 2.86 (8)
2.36 (5) GAPG 2.74 (17)
18.4% (15) PP% 18.3% (16)
80.6% (22) PK% 81.9% (17)
Jason Pominville, 24 G leader Ryan Johansen, 26
three tied, 29 A leader James Wisniewski, 33
Jason Pominville, 46 Pts leader Ryan Johansen, 50
Clayton Stoner, 78 PIM leader Brandon Dubinsky, 92
23-7-4 Home/Road 15-15-3
3/3 vs. NY RangersW 2-1 Last Game 3/13 vs. San Jose, L 4-3 (SO)
6-1-3 Last 10 5-3-2