Minnesota Wild (4-9-0) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (11-2-0)
What to Watch For: For the ninth time this season, the Minnesota Wild will be looking for their first road win of the season. Minnesota is coming off a 3-2 win against the Rangers Friday night and are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games.
Key Stat: Pittsburgh – Goals per Game: 3.3
Minnesota – Goals Per Game: 2.15
Friday morning it was up in the air whether Minnesota Wild right winger Petr Sykora would be in the lineup against his former team.
Sykora was a healthy scratch Wednesday night and then was called out by his coach the following day.
For one night, Sykora answered the bell. In the Wild’s 3-2 win Friday night against the New York Rangers, Sykora had a goal and an assist to give him his first multi-point game since January 28, 2009, when he scored two goals against the Rangers in a Penguins uniform. In fact, Sykora has 31 points in 46 career games against New York.
Sykora will be in the lineup tonight against his former team and he will have plenty of motivation.
Pittsburgh though made the right call not retaining Sykora and the organization dodged a bullet when Sykora declined a 2 year offer worth $6.1 million last February.
There’s not one member of the organization who regrets not bringing back Sykora.
What might have been for Wild head coach Todd Richards
Tonight will be a battle between former Wilkes Barre/Scranton head coaches. Richards was brought over by Ray Shero from the Nashville Predators farm system but left his head coaching position with Wilkes Barre following the 2007-2008 season to become an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks.
Bylsma took over for Richards in Wilkes Barre and when Dan Bylsma was hired on an interim status with Pittsburgh, Richards was immediately regarded as the front runner to replace Bylsma.
Richards is highly regarded by Ray Shero and he has to be thinking what might have been, if he would have stuck around in Wilkes Barre one more year. But, you can’t blame him for leaving after Michel Therrien signed a three year contract that summer.
For Pittsburgh, things have worked out just fine with Bylsma at the helm.
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