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Preview: Wild at Coyotes

Sunday, 02.03.2013 / 6:09 PM

NHL.com | Dave Vest

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Preview: Wild at Coyotes
Minnesota Wild vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Season series: This is the first of three meetings between the teams. The Coyotes went 2-1-1 against the Wild in 2011-12.

Big story: Forward Steve Sullivan will be back in the lineup for the Coyotes tonight after missing the past three games because of a lower-body injury. Sullivan leads the Coyotes with four goals.

Note: CLICK HERE TO SEE DAVE TIPPETT'S REMARKS FROM AFTER TODAY'S MORNING SKATE

T
eam scope:

Photo by Norm Hall.

Coyotes: Phoenix used its stifling defense to frustrate the Stars on Saturday night, as they limited Dallas to just 17 shots on goal. Mike Smith stopped them all for his first shutout of the season as the Coyotes pulled back within a game of the .500 mark.

"He looked like Smitty out there," Head Coach Dave Tippett said of his goaltender. "It's the first game I'd say he looked confident all year."

Smith will be back in net tonight for the Coyotes, who have earned at least one point in four straight games.

Forward Nick Johnson will square off against the Wild for the first time since leaving the team via free agency. Johnson notched eight goals in 77 games with Minnesota last season. So far this season, he has three goals in five games with Phoenix, and his shooting percentage is an eye-popping 42 percent.

Wild: Will Monday be the night when Kyle Brodziak gets going?

Brodziak enters this contest with no goals and just one assist in Minnesota’s first eight games. The 28-year-old center is coming off a career season with the Wild that saw him notch 22 goals and 22 assists in 82 games. Three of those goals came against the Coyotes.

Radim Vrbata

"Brodzy's line is so important to us, not necessarily from even an offensive standpoint," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "How do we help them get to their game, how do we help them get some more offensive zone time?"

Who’s hot: Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata is averaging a team-high point per game, with three goals and six assists in nine contests. ... Minnesota’s top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley has combined for 23 points. Parise leads the club with nine points (five goals, four assists).

Injury report: Coyotes forward Matthew Lombardi (upper body) and defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) are on injured reserve. Both skated with teammates on Monday morning. ... The Wild placed defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot) on injured reserve Sunday.

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 27 '13PHX 3 at MIN 4 - OTM. Koivu
Feb 28 '13MIN 4 at PHX 3J. Spurgeon
Feb 04 '13MIN 1 at PHX 2M. Hanzal
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
Z. Parise96410+1431
M. Koivu9268-1800
D. Heatley9426-2021
T. Gilbert9246-1600
R. Suter9044-7400
P. Bouchard9213+2801
M. Granlund9123+0200
M. Cullen9123-2200
C. Clutterbuck9112+0600
C. Stoner9022+1900
D. Setoguchi9022+0000
J. Brodin6022-2200
M. Scandella5101+1400
J. Falk9011+0700
T. Mitchell9011-2200
K. Brodziak9011-5200
J. Spurgeon3011-3000
Z. Konopka9000+01400
D. Powe8000+1900
N. Prosser4000+0000
C. Coyle1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
N. Backstrom73-3-1171992.45.915
J. Harding31-1-07553.39.873
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Vrbata103710-1610
M. Boedker10257+4220
O. Ekman-Larsson10257+0401
L. Korpikoski10426+0210
M. Hanzal6426-1001
K. Yandle10156+41010
S. Sullivan7415-3620
A. Vermette10325+2411
D. Moss10145+1200
D. Morris10055+21200
N. Johnson6314+3011
S. Doan10224-11300
B. Gordon10044-1200
D. Schlemko9022+1200
M. Lombardi4022+0000
Z. Michalek10011+1600
K. Chipchura10000-12700
A. Bolduc7000-3200
M. Stone7000-4200
P. Bissonnette6000+0500
D. Rundblad3000-1000
R. Torres2000+0000
R. Klesla2000-3000
A. Miele1000+1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Smith62-2-1141242.67.887
J. LaBarbera31-2-09873.25.897
C. Johnson21-0-12420.98.952
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