Wild-Thrashers: Minnesota Must Play 60 Minute Game

Nick MaxsonCorrespondent IFebruary 12, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 16:  Andrew Brunette #15 of the Minnesota Wild skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 16, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Wild 6-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After falling to Phoenix 3-2 on Wednesday night, Minnesota is looking to bounce back as they host the Atlanta Thrashers tonight in St. Paul.

This game marks the fourth in a season high five game homestand for the Wild and every point is needed for Minnesota to stay in the playoff hunt.

Atlanta comes into tonight's game sitting 10th place in the Western Conference and four points out of a playoff spot.

The Thrashers have struggled lately, going 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, but don't make the mistake that Atlanta will be an easy game.

In a similar position as Minnesota, expect the Thrashers to come out fighting and battling for the all important two points in the standings which would give either team that jump inn the standings they need to contend for the playoffs.

Minnesota sits in 12th place and five points out of a playoff spot.

A win tonight would not move them up in the standings, but keep them in the mix.

There is more on the line for the Wild tonight, and this should be considered a must win game for Minnesota.

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With Vancouver coming to town on Sunday, This game has all the meanings of a Game Seven in the playoffs.

Cody Almond a rookie with AHL Houston was recalled on Thursday and will make his Wild debut tonight.

In that response, Robbie Earl was re-assigned to Houston.

Almond has recorded 15 points and 43 penalty minutes in 33 games with the Aeros this season.

He is likely to be paired with Boogaard and Andrew Ebbett on the fourth line tonight.

John Scott and James Sheppard are the likely healthy scratches tonight.

On an injury note, Minnesota announced today that defensman Clayton Stoner underwent successful sports hernia surgery in Munich Germany.

He is expected back in the Twin Cities sometime late Saturday night and will need between two to four weeks to fully recover.