Preview: Wild vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

7 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh • Xcel Energy Center • FSN, 107.9-FM

In search of a sweep repeat of Cup champions

Preview: Even though the Pittsburgh Penguins won their second straight Stanley Cup last season, the Wild did beat them a combined 10-4 in the teams’ two meetings a year ago. The Wild (3-3-2) will look to re-create those results Saturday coming off its biggest offensive showing of the season Thursday, when the team scored six goals, including two short-handed. Despite leading the Metropolitan Divison of the Eastern Conference at 7-3-1, Pittsburgh has a minus-7 goal differential thanks to such big losses as 10-1 at Chicago on Oct. 5 and 7-1 at Tampa Bay on Oct. 21.

Players to watch:Eric Staal had a goal and three assists in the Wild’s two games against the Penguins last season. Jonas Brodin added three assists. Devan Dubnyk had a 2.00 goals-against average and .948 save percentage in the two games. … Former Gophers F Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists against the Wild. Kessel has scored overtime winners each of the past two games, beating Edmonton on Tuesday and Winnipeg on Thursday. His Thursday goal made him the second American-born active player with 300 career goals, along with injured Wild F Zach Parise, and the 18th overall. … Kessel has 11 points, tied for the team lead with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Numbers: Wild F Chris Stewart is tied for first in the NHL with a 37.5 shooting percentage. … Crosby has 16 points (5 G, 11 A) in 13 games vs. the Wild. Malkin has 12 (4 G, 8 A) in 10.

Injuries: F Charlie Coyle (leg) and Parise (back) are out for the Wild while Nino Niederreiter (ankle) and Landon Ferraro (hip) are questionable. Both Coyle and Niederreiter had three goals and an assist vs. Pittsburgh last season. … D Justin Schultz (concussion) and Matt Hunwick (concussion) and F Carter Rowney (hand) are out for Pittsburgh.

Megan Ryan

Source : http://www.startribune.com/preview-wild-vs-pittsburgh-penguins/453751793/

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