Minnesota is finishing up a four-game road trip. The defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1 on Monday before losing 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday and 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. They'll return home to play the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes next week.
A Look Back
The last time Minnesota faced Florida was on March 29th, 2012. The visiting playoff hopeful 37-24-15 Panthers played the 31-35-10 Wild to a 2-2 draw after 60 minutes, on goals by Tomas Fleischmann and Scottie Upshall. Mikku Koivu ended it just 15 seconds into the extra frame, wristing it past Jose Theodore, who had saved 22-of-24 shots.
Erik Christensen tied the game for Minnesota with 30.3 seconds left in regulation and Mikko Koivu won it 15 seconds into overtime as the Wild defeated the Panthers 3-2 at Xcel Energy Center. Combined with Washington's 3-2 shootout win at Boston earlier in the evening, Florida saw its division lead over the Caps reduced to four points.
It was the Panthers' League-high 16th loss in games that have gone past regulation.
"It's a tough one. You're 30 seconds away, the puck hits a skate, hits a post and then he banged it in," Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore said. "We still got a big point, but when you're 30 seconds away, you want to get the win." * Full Recap * Box Score
GameTime: 7:00 PM ET, FS-FLA, WQAM, LBC GameThread at 6:30
All-Time Record: The Wild and the Panthers have squared off 13 times previously. Florida owns a 3-7-1-2 record in those matches for a 34.6% success rate. It's the least success they have had against any other franchise except for the St. Louis Blues (also 34.6%).
Season Series: First of two
2-6-0, .250, 4 points, on pace for 41 points. Seventh in the Atlantic Division, tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 15th in the NHL. Last five: L-W-L-L-L.
.500, 8 points, on pace for 82 points. Fourth in the Central Division, tied for ninth in the Western Conference, tied for 23rd in the NHL. Last five: W-W-W-L-L.
D Mike Weaver plays in his 200th game tonight, moving him past and Jozef Stumpel into 41st on the all-time list.
Matthias has 44 assists, tied with Jody Hull,, and Ivan Novoseltsev in 46th. Fleischmann currently sits at 63 with the Panthers, placing him in 31st, one behind . Kulikov's next assist will be his 65th, moving him into a tie at 29th with captain . currently has 72 assists, is tied for 21st place with Stu Barnes, and will move into the top 20 all-time with two more, tying Johan Garpenlov.
Florida GM Dale Tallon turns 63 today.
Probable Starting Lineups
- Tomas Fleischmann - -
- - - Kris Versteeg
- - - Scottie Upshall
- - - Shawn Matthias
- - Brian Campbell
- - Dmitry Kulikov
- Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter
- Dany Heatley - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville
- Matt Cooke - Kyle Brodziak - Justin Fontaine
- Torrey Mitchell - Zenon Konopka - Stephane Veilleux
Brad Boyes - 4, Marcel Goc, Jonathan Huberdeau -3
Tomas Fleischmann - 6, Brian Campbell - 4, Aleksander Barkov, Scott Gomez - 3
Tomas Fleischmann - 7, Brad Boyes - 6, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau - 5
Marcel Goc - 50.0%, Jesse Winchester - 50.0%, Aleksander Barkov - 46.4%
Shots on Goal
Tomas Fleischmann - 24, Kris Versteeg - 21, Brad Boyes - 20
Erik Gudbranson - 30, Dmitry Kulikov - 23, Jesse Winchester - 14
Mike Weaver - 23, Erik Gudbranson - 17, Tomas Fleischmann, Dmitry Kulikov - 11
Mike Weaver - 21, Erik Gudbranson - 17, Tom Gilbert - 13
If you're interested in more on tonight's matchup, check out Hockey Wilderness. Make sure to join us for bread and circuses at 6:30 tonight in the Game Thread.