Injury-Riddled Wings and Wild Meet Tonight
It's been four months since the Wings and Wild met, and much has changed since. Tonight's game (7:30 PM, Joe Louis Arena) will be their final matchup of the regular season. The Wild stormed out of the gate and held a top spot in the West until December, but have fallen to playoff bubble status since. Detroit overcame an inconsistent first quarter of the season and is mired in a gridlock with Vancouver, St. Louis and the New York Rangers for the top spot in the league.
Minnesota leads the season series 2-1 and 2 of the 3 games have gone to overtime. Mikko Koivu (1G, 2A) and Devin Setoguchi (1G, 1A) lead the Wild in points against Detroit. Ian White and Johan Franzen both have a goal and an assist versus the Wild and Val Filppula has 2 assists.
Both Detroit and Minnesota are missing key players to injury. Nicklas Backstrom, Mikko Koivu, Guillaume Latendresse, Jarod Palmer, Pierre-March Bouchard, Clayton Stoner and Mike Lundin are all out for the Wild.
Detroit will play without Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Ericsson and Patrick Eaves. Defenseman Kyle Quincey will return after missing one game with a sore groin. Doug Janik was sent back down to Grand Rapids. The second defense pairing will be him and Ian White.
Matt Kassian (2G) and Nick Johnson (3A) led the offense in Minnesota's 5-4 shootout loss to Montreal last night. Henrik Zetterberg has five points in his last two games and Val Filppula has a goal and an assist in his past two games. Johan Franzen remained on the third line in practice even though he scored against Columbus.