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  • Wild Weekly Preview: December 26th-January 1st


    If all you wanted for Christmas was 10 straight wins from your Minnesota Wild - congratulations, you got it!

    Minnesota enters the week sitting quite pretty in second place in the NHL's Central Division with a 21-8-4 record and 46 points through 33 games. In two more games played, the St. Louis Blues sit third with 41 points, while Nashville, Dallas and Winnipeg sit just outside the playoff bubble with 35 points each. Chicago leads all Western Conference teams with 49 points in 36 games.

    This Week's Schedule

    Tuesday, December 27th - Minnesota Wild @ Nashville Predators 7:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-WI, FS-TN)

    Thursday, December 29th - Minnesota Wild vs New York Islanders 7:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-WI, MSG+)

    Saturday, December 31st - Minnesota Wild vs Columbus Blue Jackets 5:00 PM CT (FS-N, FS-O)

    Game of the Week

    Nashville is 4-5-1 in its last 10 games, going into the Christmas break on a loss. If the Wild can get a jump on them, they could easily extend their streak to 11, maybe even 12 against the East-worst New York Islanders. Let's not kid ourselves - these games are peanuts - Saturday's clash with league-leading Columbus is most definitely our key game.

    Key Player of the Week

    As much as I'd like to, I can't keep coming back to Devan Dubnyk. No, this week, we look to Minnesota's leading scorer, Eric Staal. The steal of this summer's free agent period, the 2003 second overall pick seems to be rediscovering his old scoring touch now that he's closer to home. Playing all 33 games for the Wild this season, Staal leads the club in points with 28, and his 11 goals are one behind Charlie Coyle for the team lead. He's also been a contributor both on the power play and penalty kill with seven power play points and two shorthanded points this season.

    Staal enters the week riding seven-game point streak, during which he's posted five goals, 10 points and a plus-5 rating. That also includes two goals in the club's last meeting with Nashville, so that's something to consider.

    Key Opponent of the Week

    I don't mean to neglect another key Dubnyk opponent in Sergei Bobrovsky, but I'm forced to when a guy like Cam Atkinson takes the stage. Atkinson ranks sixth in the league with 15 goals and 35 points in 32 games with the Jackets. The small forward is also riding a streak of his own. Columbus is terrorizing teams with 12 straight wins, the last nine of which Atkinson has managed to collect seven goals, 14 points and a plus-6 rating.

    Minnesota versus Columbus, Dubnyk versus Bobrovsky, Staal versus Atkinson - we're closing out 2016 with a bang, folks. Happy New Year!

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