Arizona at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Thursday, October 23, 2014
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota
After managing only two goals on 69 shots combined in a pair of losses, the Minnesota Wild look to get their offense back in gear when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. The Wild started the season by scoring eight times in two impressive shutout victories before dropping 2-1 decisions at Los Angeles and Anaheim, and may be facing the right team to ignite their offense. Arizona has surrendered 21 goals in five games, although the Coyotes gained points in three of those outings.
Arizona began a stretch of six road games in seven contests with a 4-3 shootout loss at Nashville on Tuesday, scoring twice on a power play which is 6-of-17 its last four outings. Minnesota is scoreless in 16 man-advantage situations while left wing Zach Parise is off to a strong start with two goals, two assists and a plus-5 rating. Darcy Kuemper, who has allowed two goals on 72 shots, is expected to start in goal for the Wild.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, FSN North and FSN Wisconsin (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (2-2-1): Arizona scored seven goals in one of its victories and has allowed six in a pair of losses during a see-saw early season. Left wing Mikkel Boedker has shined in the first two weeks with five goals and an assist while key offseason acquisition center Sam Gagner is without a point in five contests on nine shots. Goalie Mike Smith is off to a rough start with a 5.33 goals-against average and a .822 save percentage in three outings, and Devan Dubnyk started against Nashville.
ABOUT THE WILD (2-2-0): Minnesota plays only nine games in October and come in with three days of rest since outshooting Los Angeles 41-16. Ryan Suter, who leads the NHL in ice time per game with 28:50, along with Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin have played in every game while coach Mike Yeo has shuffled players in the last two spots on defense. Minnesota left wing Thomas Vanek, who is looking for his first goal, is expected to play despite a thumb injury.
1. Minnesota C Mikko Koivu has yet to record a point and is slated to play with Vanek and RW Charlie Coyle on a newly-constructed line against Arizona.
2. Arizona C Martin Hanzal (lower-body injury) did not play against Nashville and is questionable for Thursday.
3. The Wild has won four of the last five meetings, but lost to the Coyotes last November at home.
PREDICTION: Wild 4, Coyotes 1
Stats and Records