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PENGUINS vs WILD PREVIEW

on April 05, 2014 10:50 AM

When and where — 8 p.m. today; Xcel Energy Center; St. Paul, Minn.

TV — Root

Radio — WQMU-FM 92.5

Records — Penguins 49-23-5 (103 points, first place Metropolitan Division), Wild 39-26-12 (90 points, fourth place Central Division)

Leading scorers — Penguins: Sidney Crosby (36 goals, 66 assists, 102 points); Wild: Jason Pominville (53 points), Zach Parise (28 goals), Mikko Koivu (39 assists)

Season series — 1-0 Pittsburgh

Last meeting — Chris Kunitz scored two goals and the Penguins beat the Wild, 5-2, on Dec. 19 in Pittsburgh. Brandon Sutter, Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta also scored for the Pens. Jason Pominville and Dany Heatley scored Minnesota’s goals. Jeff Zatkoff stopped 24 of 26 shots for the win.

Last time out — The Penguins clinched the Metropolitan Division championship with a 4-2 win at Winnipeg on Thursday. Beau Bennett, Craig Adams, Paul Martin and Brian Gibbons scored for Pittsburgh. Martin returned to the lineup after missing 18 games with a broken right hand. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 13 of 15 shots. … Minnesota lost to Chicago, 3-2, in a shootout on the road Thursday. Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula scored in regulation for the Wild. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 24 of 26 shots through overtime.

Notes — The Penguins, division champions for the second straight year, could be locked into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference by game time. Boston can clinch the top spot with a win over Philadelphia this afternoon. … Chris Kunitz had his four-game point streak snapped Thursday. He had three goals and two assists in that span. … Sidney Crosby leads the league in scoring, with an 18-point lead on his closest competitor, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, and in assists, with six more than San Jose’s Joe Thornton. He’s fifth in goals, 13 behind Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (37-18-4, .916 save percentage) is tied for third in the league in wins and shutouts (5). … The Penguins are second in the league in power-play percentage (23.3 percent) and fourth in penalty killing (85.3).

About the Wild — Minnesota holds the first of two wild card spots in the Western Conference. The Wild lead Dallas, the No. 2 wild card team, and Phoenix, the closest competitor for a playoff spot, by five points. Minnesota has to face three of the league’s top six teams (St. Louis, Boston and Pittsburgh) in its five remaining regular-season games. … The Wild went 2-1-1 on their recently-concluded four-game road trip. Four of their remaining five games are at home. … Charlie Coyle has points (three goals, four assists) in six of his last seven games, including a goal in Chicago on Thursday. … The top three goaltenders on the Minnesota depth chart, Josh Harding (illness), Niklas Backstrom (abdominal) and Darcy Kuemper (upper body) are all out. Ilya Bryzgalov, whose contract was bought out by Philadelphia last offseason, was acquired in a trade with Edmonton in early March. In eight games with Minnesota, he’s 4-0-3 with a .911 save percentage. He’s 9-8-8 with a .909 save percentage overall.

Next — The Penguins play at Colorado at 8 p.m. Sunday.

 

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