It’s time for the Minnesota Wild to bounce back from a rough loss at home. They can get right back on the horse as they host the New York Islanders.
The Wild (2-3-2) need a confidence booster after getting shut out 1-0 by Vancouver on Tuesday in a less-than-stellar homecoming after a lengthy road trip. They’ll try to get a win against the Islanders (5-3-1), a team whose only regulation losses have come on the road. Last season, the clubs went 1-1 against each other, winning their games at home. Seven of 11 games between these two in St. Paul have been one-goal affairs (5-1-1 for the Wild).
For Thursday’s game, the Wild recalled forward Zack Mitchell from Iowa. The 24-year-old has one assist in three games with the Wild this season. The game against the Islanders will be his 15th NHL game with the Wild. Mitchell is slated to join the fourth line with Daniel Winnik and Matt Cullen.
Minnesota native Justin Kloos made his NHL debut on Tuesday but was sent back to Iowa the next day.
The Islanders roster boasts some familiar faces. Center Brock Nelson (No. 29) is a Warroad native, winger Anders Lee (No. 27) is from Edina and defenseman Nick Leddy (No. 2) is an Eden Prairie standout and 2009 Wild draft pick. Nelson and Lee have five goals each. John Tavares leads the team with six goals and 10 points. Then there’s former Wild player Cal Clutterbuck (No. 15), a 2006 Wild draft pick who played with the team from 2007-13.
As for special teams, the Wild are 6-for-22 on the power play, good enough for fifth in the NHL, but their penalty killing is 26th in the league with seven goals allowed in 30 attempts. The Islanders don’t have great numbers either. They have just two power-play goals on the season -- tied for 30th in NHL -- and have allowed three short-handed. The Wild have yet to get on the board either way in the short-handed goals category.
Despite the goal drought Tuesday, Chris Stewart still leads the team with six goals and eight points. Eric Staal leads the Wild with 46 points (23-23—46) against the Islanders in 48 games.
Nino Niederreiter is still out of the lineup, but he skated with his teammates for Thursday’s morning skate.
“Every day it’s getting better and better,” Niederreiter said. “I think I’m getting pretty close.”
Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), 7 games
Charlie Coyle, IR, (right fibula fracture), 4 games
Nino Niederreiter, IR, (high left ankle sprain), 4 games
Landon Ferraro (hip flexor), 2 games
Total games lost due to injury: 23
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