Scouting Report: Minnesota Wild
CALGARY, AB -- With just a third of the National Hockey League schedule remaining, the Minnesota Wild are flirting with their second consecutive playoff berth.
With a record of 29-21-6 to reach 64 points, the Wild currently hold down the first of two wildcard spots in the Western Conference. Still, Minnesota is just 5-4-1 over their past 10 games, a mark they’ll need to improve upon to ensure another trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This Season: 29-21-6, 64 points (7th in West)
Last Season: 26-19-3, 55 points (8th in West)
Notable Injuries: Forward Mikko Koivu (fractured ankle) and goaltender Josh Harding (illness) are on injured reserve. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot) skated in his first full practice with the team on Friday.
Flames Season Series Record: 0-1-0
After scoring just one goal in Minnesota’s first 10 games in January, Pominville has exploded. He’s scored a goal in three of his past four outings and has recorded a goal and an assist in two straight games. He’s also notched six points in his past four games. Overall, his 22 goals and 39 points are tops on the Wild.
Though Heatley has managed two assists in his last six games, the four-time 40-goal scorer has recorded just one goal over his past 16 games. The former Calgary Canucks standout has just nine goals and 20 points in 56 games this season and is a team-worst minus-10.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Acquired last June in exchange for Cal Clutterbuck, the 21-year-old Niederreiter has enjoyed a promising second full season in the NHL. The former fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft has nine goals and 26 points in 56 games this season.
Parise, who will serve as captain for Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, has been as hot as anyone in the League over the past 96 hours. In two games, the 29-year-old has three goals and seven points to push his season totals to 18 goals and 34 points in 41 games.
No player has seen more ice this season than Suter, who will accompany Parise to Sochi and serve as an alternate on Team USA. The 29-year-old is averaging 29:39 per game, nearly two full minutes more than Brian Campbell -- the next closest skater. He’s also made the most of his time with six goals and 33 points -- 11th among all blueliners.