The Minnesota Wild have one more road game to play in 2010, and they'll follow that one up with three straight games at home to ring in the new year.
Minnesota's final road game of 2010 will take place this evening, and will see the Wild taking a trip to Ohio to battle the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus is the team currently in last place in the NHL's Central Division, but they've still managed to come up with one more point so far thus season than the Wild (who currently sit in third in the Northwest Division). The Blue Jackets have a record of 17-15-3 on the year, good for 37 points, which is one more than the 36 points the Wild have thanks to their 16-14-4 record. These two teams have already met one time this year, way back on Oct. 16, with the Blue Jackets coming away with a 3-2 victory in St. Paul.
This game also presents a rare opportunity for the Wild, as they'll actually be on national television. . .If you have the Versus network, which is where the game will be shown. The puck will drop in Columbus this evening at 6:30 p.m/ Central time.
From there, the rest of the Wild's games in 2010 will take place at the XCel Energy Center, starting on Wednesday night as Minnesota plays host to the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks' 19-11-5 record gives them 43 points thus far on the season, good enough for a tie for second place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks and Wild have done battle on one other occasion this year, back on Nov. 2, with the Wild coming out with a 1-0 victory at home. Start time for this one is set for 7:00 p.m. Central time, and you can catch the action on Fox Sports North.
The Wild will close out 2010 by hosting the Nashville Predators on New Year's Eve. The Predators are currently sitting in fourth place in the Central Division, with a 17-12-6 record having given them 40 points on the season, leaving them just on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoffs at this point. Nashville and Minnesota have met one other time this season so far, with the Wild capturing a 5-2 victory at home back on November 26. This one gets underway a little earlier, with the opening face-off scheduled for 5:00 PM Central time in St. Paul. You'll be able to see all of the action on Fox Sports North before engaging in your New Year's Eve festivities.
Finally, the Wild will ring in the new year this coming Sunday as they play host to the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes are the cellar dwellers in the Pacific Division but, again, still have more points than the Wild, as their 16-11-7 record gives them 39 points on the season. The Wild and Coyotes have split two games this year, with each team winning on the other team's surface. . .Phoenix beat Minnesota 4-2 at the XCel Energy Center back on Dec. 1, with the Wild returning the favor with a 3-2 victory in Phoenix on Dec. 8. This one will also get underway at 5:00 p.m. Central time, and will be available for your viewing pleasure on Fox Sports North as well.
That's the Wild's schedule for the next seven days, ladies and gentlemen. Plan your television viewing and/or your trips to St. Paul accordingly.