Koivu Provides Spark, but Team Needs to Follow Lead

By Matt Farland


       Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu’s return from injury was much anticipated by fans during the team’s recent slide, and he did indeed provide a spark in their game against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.  However, defenseman Jared Spurgeon was injured, and the Avalanche scored three unanswered goals to down the Wild 4-2.

       There is no doubt that Koivu brought back some of the old Wild energy, but it simply wasn’t enough.  The team still looked somewhat unmotivated in terms of their intensity, and, regardless of injuries, they need to find that again in a hurry if they expect to turn things around.  Tonight will be another great opportunity to do so.

       With the Wild’s losing streak now at seven games, the play of young defenseman Jared Spurgeon has been the only silver lining as of late.  However, Spurgeon was hit from behind on Monday and will not play against Nashville Predators on Wednesday.  His injury will require the other defensemen to step up in order to make Spurgeon’s absence unnoticeable.  One of the people charged with doing so will be Nate Prosser, who was recalled to fill Spurgeon’s spot.  Forward Jon DiSalvatore was also recalled, and is expected to make his debut in the Wild lineup tonight.

       The Predators come into their contest with Minnesota on a two game losing streak, and have lost three of their last 4 games.  They will be without star defenseman Shea Weber, which is good news as the Wild need all the help they can get just to get a win right now.  Weber is currently leading the Preds in total points.  Minnesota won the only contest between the two teams thus far, a 3-2 victory in St. Paul.  Goaltender Josh Harding, who will be starting in net for Minnesota tonight, picked up the win on November 23rd.

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