The New York Islanders are in Minnesota to play a Wild team that is returning from a rather Islanders-esque 0-4 road trip.
The Wild are still without Zach Parise, still injured after rushing back from a broken foot and revealing a further stress fracture. The Wild at least get Josh Harding back in net after recovering from his own injury.
The Islanders get John Tavares back in the lineup after a one-game injury absence, but they'll be without Michael Grabner (illness) and Josh Bailey (injured in last night's third period). Kevin Poulin starts after Evgeni Nabokov played in last night's 2-1 loss to the Devils.
Oh, also this is Cal Clutterbuck's first game back in Minnesota after the offseason trade, and Nino Niederreiter's first game against the team that drafted him. Given the underlying drama surrounding Nino's time on Long Island and in Bridgeport, will any of his former mates look to drill him? Will they at least keep him off the board?
A snapshot of West vs. East as the season approaches the halfway point: The Wild's 45 points is still two points short of the West's wildcard playoff spot; the Isles' 29 points, though hopeless, is only 11 points short of the threshold to capture the third seed in the Metropolitan Division.
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