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Minnesota Wild wi ll look to avoid a fourth straight home loss when they face the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
The Maple Leafs look to get back in the win column on Thursday after a hideous loss in Winnipeg last night in which they conceded six goals and were blown out of the MTS Center but things don’t get any easier as they travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild. The Leafs were riding high after a 3-0 shutout win over the Oilers on Monday in which rookie goaltender Garret Spark earned the victory but he was shelled in his second apperance and will likely be relegated to the bench in this one. The Buds will likely go back with James Reimer as Jonathan Bernier has been sent down to the minors and while Reimer has been solid this season he is in a tough spot on the road againsta very good Minnesota side.
The Wild head into Thursday night’s action sitting in fifth place in the Central division but are just five points back of the second place Blues and can easily make up ground over the course of the weekend. Minnesota has been lights out at home over the years and that has continued into this year as they are 8-3-1 at the Xcel Energy Center and with the Leafs coming in as one of the worst road teams in the NHL things look like they’ll continue tonight. Devan Dubnyk will get the call and he should cruise to another easy win as the Leafs get trounced for the second night in a row.
THE BIG MATCHUP
Ryan Suter vs. Leafs defence
The Wild captain and workhorse once again leads the league in ice time, averaging 28 minutes and five seconds a night. With 15 points in his past 15 games, the veteran all-star defenceman leads the Wild in scoring and is the de facto quarterback of his team’s offence.