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BLUE JACKETS (20-24-9) at WILD (24-23-4)
Last 10: Columbus 5-5-0; Minnesota 4-5-1
Season series: This is the third of four meetings. On Oct. 3, Blue Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesla scored midway through the third period for a 2-1 home win in the season-opening game for both clubs. Steve Mason finished with 32 saves and R.J. Umberger added a short-handed goal for Columbus. Andrew Brunette scored and Niklas Backstrom had 37 saves for Minnesota. On Dec. 15, Guillaume Latendresse and Marek Zidlicky scored goals and Backstrom made 21 saves for the Wild in a 2-1 home win. Nash gave Columbus a 1-0 lead 3:41 into the second period.
Big story: The home crowd at Xcel Energy Center should be revved up from the start as this contest is part of the annual celebration of Hockey Day Minnesota 2010. With over 21 hours of consecutive hockey programming on FOX Sports North, coverage from Hockey Day Minnesota covers events taking place across the State of Hockey. The schedule includes high school games, college games, and several special features and vignettes with Minnesota hockey legends.
Blue Jackets: This contest wraps up a three-game road trip that has featured a 5-3 loss at Philadelphia and a 3-2 victory at Boston.
Columbus scored twice in the third period for the come-from-behind win against the Bruins at TD Garden. Umberger tipped Anton Stralman's slap shot past goalie Tuukka Rask for a power play goal with 1:16 remaining in the third period.
The Blue Jackets won for only the third time in their last 19 road games and did it with the players' fathers along on the trip.
"Our dads liked it too," said Antoine Vermette, whose goal tied the score in the third period.
Wild: This is the middle game in a three-game homestand that began with a 4-3 shootout loss against Detroit on Thursday.
The shootout lasted eight rounds. Owen Nolan and Zidlicky scored for the Wild, but Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard stopped four other Wild shooters and two others missed the net.
The Wild overcame a 3-1 deficit with third-period goals from Martin Havlat and Brunette only a minute apart. Minnesota has outscored opponents 11-3 in the third in its last five home games.
"It's amazing that we almost came back but you can't play hockey like that," Havlat said. "It causes you to lose your power and strength for the next games too."
The contest also marked the return of offensive defenseman Brent Burns. He had missed 29 straight games because of a concussion. He was scoreless in 13:36 of ice time.
Who's hot: For the Blue Jackets, Kristian Huselius has a goal and 7 assists in four games, Rick Nash has 4 goals and an assist in four games, Umberger has 3 goals and 3 assists in four games, and Stralman has 5 assists in four games. … For the Wild, Havlat has a goal and 4 assists in three games and Nolan has a goal and 2 assists in three games.
Injury report: For the Blue Jackets, Klesla (groin) is on injured reserve, and Mike Commodore (knee) and Marc Methot (illness) are day-to-day. … For the Wild, Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), Chuck Kobasew (knee) and Clayton Stoner (lower-body) are on injured reserve.
Stat pack: The Wild are 13-3-1 against the Blue Jackets in home games at Xcel Energy Center. … Zidlicky has 31 points (7 goals, 24 assists) in 34 games against Columbus, Brunette has 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists) in 32 contests, and Havlat has 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) in 22 matches. … Nash reached 400 career points when he scored the game-winning goal against St. Louis on Monday. Nash, the first pick in the 2002 Entry Draft, is the first player from that draft class to score 400 points in the NHL. In fact, no other 2002 draftee has even 300 points in the NHL. … Latendresse recorded his first career hat trick last Saturday, the 15th hat trick in Wild history. He has 19 points (13-6-19) in 24 games with Minnesota, after recording 3 points (2-1-3) in 23 games with the Montreal Canadiens this season.
Puck drop: "Our goal is to make the playoffs, and we feel we're a playoff-caliber team." -- Wild GM Chuck Fletcher.