The Wild week ahead: Dec. 13-19
The Minnesota Wild play two games on the road and two at home this week.
The Wild enters the week as the best team in the NHL with 43 points (20-7-3) and hold the longest current win in the NHL at seven games.
Tuesday: Wild at Winnipeg Jets (13-12-4)
Season Series: This is the only meeting of the season against the Jets. The Wild lost the only meeting 5-1 in Atlanta on Nov. 11. The Thrashers got a goal and an assist each from Andrew Ladd and Fredrik Modin. The Wild’s only goal came from Antti Miettinen, who recently signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning as a free agent.
Leaders: Matt Cullen leads all Wild players with five goals and 16 assists in 35 career games against the Thrashers/Jets franchise…Dany Heatley has 10 goals and nine assists in 18 career games…Dustin Byfuglien leads all Jets players with three goals and eight assists in 15 games against the Wild.
Connections: Heatley was the No. 2 overall draft pick by the Thrashers in the 2000 entry draft…Byfuglien (Minneapolis), Mark Stuart (Rochester) and Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale) were born in the State of Hockey.
Wednesday: Chicago Blackhawks (18-8-4) at Wild
Season Series: This is the first meeting of the season. Last season, the Blackhawks won three of the four meetings. Martin Havlat and Mikko Koivu led the Wild with three points each in the four games. Jonathan Toews led the Blackhawks with five points and Troy Brouwer, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith had four points each in the four games.
Leaders: Cullen leads all Wild players with eight goals and 11 assists in 32 career games against the Blackhawks…Koivu has three goals and 15 assists in 22 career games…Andrew Brunette leads all Blackhawks players with seven goals and nine assists in 25 career games against the Wild…Toews has four goals and seven assists in 13 career games against the Wild.
Connections: Brunette played for the Wild from 2001-04 and 2008-11. He ranks second on the team’s leaders in goals (119), points (321) and power play goals (55) and is fourth in assists (202)…John Scott played for the Wild from 2008-10…Sean O’Donnell played for the Wild from 2000-01 and served as the first captain in team history…Nick Leddy (Eden Prairie) was born in the State of Hockey and was a first round draft pick of the Wild in 2009.
Saturday: New York Islanders (9-12-6) at Wild
Season Series: The Islanders won the previous meeting 2-1 at the Nassau Coliseum. Cullen scored the Wild’s lone goal. P.A. Parenteau recorded two assists while Andrew MacDonald and Frans Nielsen scored the Islanders’ goals.
Leaders: Heatley leads all Wild players with 14 goals and 11 assists in 25 career games against the Islanders…Cullen has 11 goals and 12 assists in 33 games…Nielsen leads all Islanders players with one goal and four assists in five career games against the Wild.
Connections: Brian Rolston played for the Wild from 2005-08…Kyle Okposo (St. Paul) was born in the State of Hockey.
Monday: Wild at Vancouver Canucks (18-10-1)
Season Series: The two teams have split their two previous meetings this season. The Canucks won in overtime in Vancouver and the Wild won 5-1 at the Xcel Energy Center. Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard have three points each against the Canucks this season to lead the Wild. Daniel Sedin has three points against the Wild to lead the Canucks.
Leaders: Bouchard leads all Wild players with six goals and 23 assists in 41 career games against the Canucks…Koivu has 10 goals and 15 assists in 38 games…Henrik Sedin leads all Canucks players with seven goals and 42 assists in 64 career games against the Wild. He is the all-time leader in assists against the Wild.
Connections: Andrew Alberts (Minneapolis) and Keith Ballard (Baudette) were born in the State of Hockey.
Other Wild news
Matt Hackett was named the National Hockey League’s second star for last week after posting a 2-0 record and 1.01 goals against average in two appearances (one start).