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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 19th (All times Eastern)

Minnesota Wild (3-3-2) at Florida Panthers (2-6-0), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild hope a road game against the Florida Panthers can help them get back on track, as the clubs meet for Saturday's tilt at BB&T Center.

The Wild enter Saturday with a 1-2-0 record on their four-game road trip, but they have had tremendous success on the road against the Panthers in recent years. Minnesota has won two straight and nine of the last 11 meetings with the Panthers overall and has claimed five of the past six encounters in the Sunshine State.

All told, Minnesota has outscored the Panthers by a combined 40-22 margin over the 13 all-time meetings between the clubs.

After beginning their current swing with a 2-1 win at Buffalo, the Wild have dropped consecutive games versus Toronto and Tampa Bay. Minnesota dropped a 3-1 decision to the Lightning on Thursday, as Steven Stamkos scored with 5:04 remaining in the third period to snap a tie game. Sami Salo added an empty- netter to seal the win for the home team.

The Wild have lost two straight following a three-game win streak and have mustered just four goals over their three most recent outings. Mikko Koivu accounted for Minnesota's lone score on Thursday and Josh Harding turned back 27-of-29 shots in a losing effort.

With the contest knotted at 1-1 and the teams engaged in a 4-on-4 situation, Tampa Bay's Matt Carle sent the puck along the right boards and Stamkos beat Wild defenseman Ryan Suter to the disc. The star centerman then skated in alone on Harding and placed a shot between the goaltender's pads that sent the Lightning in front with just over five minutes to play.

"We make a mistake, and obviously you can't give a player like that an opportunity," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said of Stamkos' breakaway goal.

The Wild could get No. 1 goaltender Niklas Backstrom back in the crease tonight for the first time since Oct. 8. Backstrom was sidelined for four games with a knee injury before suiting up as the backup to Harding in Thursday's loss.

Backstrom is 0-0-2 with a 3.40 goals against average in three games this season, but he boasts a 5-0-1 mark and a 1.95 GAA in six career outings against the Panthers.

After Saturday's contest, the Wild will play two straight and six of their next seven games on home ice. Next up for Minnesota is Tuesday's game against the visiting Nashville Predators.

While Minnesota is trying to avoid a third straight loss, the Panthers enter Saturday having lost three in a row in regulation. Florida is just 1-6-0 since beginning the 2013-14 season with a win at Dallas.

The Panthers latest setback came Thursday against Boston, as Florida goaltender Tim Thomas faced his former team for the first time. Reilly Smith scored on Thomas with 58.7 seconds to play to help the Bruins record a 3-2 road win.

Thomas won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy with the Bruins in 2011 while leading the franchise to its first Stanley Cup title since 1972. Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, played one more season with the Bruins after that championship year before sitting out the lockout-shortened campaign. He then became a free agent this past offseason and appeared in training camp with the Panthers on a professional tryout before signing a one-year deal just before the start of the season.

Trailing by a goal, Florida had tied the game at the 14-minute mark after a left circle faceoff win saw Jesse Winchester tip in a Nick Bjugstad shot. Boston, though, took a 3-2 lead with 58.7 seconds left as a broken play saw the puck get through several players in front, with Smith backhanding it past Thomas for his first goal of the season.

Florida got Thomas out of the net late, but was unable to score the equalizer.

"We lost some faceoffs in our zone and they made us pay for that," said Florida head coach Kevin Dineen. "I liked our last 40 minutes, but the first period might have been our worst of the year."

Winchester and Kris Versteeg had the goals for the Panthers, while Thomas allowed all three goals on 40 shots.

Thursday's contest marked the start of a six-game homestand for Florida, which is 1-2-0 as the host in 2013-14.

10/19 10:32:31 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
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CHA
DEN
 
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ECU
FAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
JST
NCCU
 
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
Final
CLE 105
MEM 91
Final
MIA 100
BOS 84
Final
BRK 110
DET 105
Final
SAC 108
LAL 101
Final
ORL 88
PHI 96
Final
WAS 92
PHO 104
Final
MIN 96
IND 100
Final
OKC 99
NOP 101
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
DEN
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
POR
 
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CHI
TOR
 
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MEM
UTA
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
SAC
 
2:00pm Today
MEM
BYU
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
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UGST 68
SMISS 55
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NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
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STLU 58
VERM 55
 
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UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
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EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
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DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
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SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
Final
NICST 64
TROY 65
 
Final
BRAD 47
UCI 55
 
Final
UGA 65
SHU 47
Final
ALA 60
APP 59
Final
KSU 53
NDST 52
 
Final
WASU 82
SJST 53
Final
UTEP 78
ALCOR 45
 
Final
SEAT 66
SACST 47
 
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NW
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JMU
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NO
 
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GRAM
 
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Final
DET 1
COL 2
Final
EDM 5
DAL 6
Final
BOS 4
BUF 3
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
Final
CHI 4
TOR 0
Final
WIN 3
PHI 4
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CLB
NAS
 
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WAS
OTT
 
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FLA
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ARI
 
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ANA
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LOS
CAL
 
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
Final
STL 27
NYG 37
Final
OAK 26
BUF 24
Final
DAL 42
IND 7
Final
ARI 6
SEA 35
8:30pm Tonight
CIN
DEN