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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Buffalo Sabres @ Pittsburgh Penguins, November 13th, 2008
Game Time: 7:00pm/ET
From: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Penguins Record: 11-4-2 (4th in Eastern Conference)
Flyers Record: 10-4-1 (5th in Western Conference)
Last Meeting:
October 30th, 2007 @ Minnesota (4-2 Pens)
[Boxscore] [Video]

Max Talbot - Sidney Crosby - Miroslav Satan
Ruslan Fedotenko - Evgeni Malkin - Petr Sykora
Tyler Kennedy - Jordan Staal - Matt Cooke
Pascal Dupuis - Mike Zigomanis - Eric Godard

Brooks Opik - Kris Letang
Rob Scuderi - Hal Gill
Phillipe Boucher - Alex Goligoski

Dany Sabourin (3-1-0 / 1.68GAA / .942 SV%)

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Mikko Koivu - Owen Nolan
Stephane Veilleux - James Sheppard - Antti Miettinen
Andrew Brunette - Eric Belanger - Brent Burns
Derek Boogaard - Benoit Pouliot - Cal Clutterbuck

Kim Johnsson - Nick Schultz
Martin Skoula - Marek Zidlicky
Erik Reitz - Marc-Andre Bergeron

Niklas Backstrom (10-3-1 / 2.00GAA / .934 SV%)

GOALS: Satan (8)
ASSISTS: Malkin (23)
POINTS: Malkin (30)
+/-: Staal (+6)

GOALS: Miettinen (6)
ASSISTS: Koivu (13)
POINTS: Koivu (15)
+/-: Pouliot (+5)

The Minnesota Wild are a very good defensive team. Under coach Jacques Lemaire the team has implemented a rigid defensive system that wins hockey games. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom has an outstanding goals against average and save percentage (2.00GAA and .934 SV%) largely due to the team's focus on defense.

Tonight the Penguins offense, which has been outstanding recently, will definitely be tested. The team has outscored their opponents 32-22 during their six game winning streak and secondary scoring from people like Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal are beginning to supplement the points being racked up by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Miroslav Satan still leads the team in goals while Malkin leads the NHL in points and assists.

It will be offense versus defense tonight and it should be interesting.

Recently acquired defenseman Phillipe Boucher will make his Penguins debut tonight and it is expected that he will see time on the powerplay. Having another right handed shot should help out the team, especially when they have the man advantage.

The wild card here appears to be Dany Sabourin. Due to an unknown injury announced yesterday Marc-Andre Fleury will be sitting out tonight's game. Sabourin has played very well in a relief role thus far but it remains to be seen how he will react tonight.

Also, I would definitely not be surprised if Eric Godard and Wild forward Derek Boogard became physically involved with one another tonight.

The game will be shown on Versus, for those who get it, and on TSN2, for those who get it. I am neither of those people. The Penguins will once again wear their third jerseys during the game.

Prediction: 3-1 Penguins

Saint Paul/Minnesota Media:

Star Tribune
Pioneer Press

Hockey Wilderness
Wild Puck Banter
MN Wild Freak

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