Columbus (29-41-3) at Minnesota (41-29-1)

Fair Currently: St. Paul, MN
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 2:00 pm EDT Sun Apr 6, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Wild can clinch sixth place in the Western Conference as they close the regular season against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

A sixth-place finish would mean a quarterfinal matchup with the Vancouver Canucks, who the Wild are 2-2-1 against this season.

Minnesota is currently slated to meet the second-seeded Dallas Stars, who are third in the league with 109 points.

The Wild went 3-1 against the Stars, who left Minnesota for Texas prior to the 1993-94 season. The Stars still have a chance to move up to the top seed in the West with a win over Nashville on Sunday, coupled with a Detroit loss to Chicago.

The Wild are two points behind the sixth-place Anaheim Mighty Ducks, who have already closed out their regular-season schedule. The Wild have more victories than the Ducks, so Minnesota would clinch sixth via the win-total tiebreaker with a win on Sunday.

Minnesota has dropped two straight and four of six, including a 2-1 setback to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

Manny Fernandez made 24 saves and Pascal Dupuis scored the lone goal for Minnesota.

The Blue Jackets are the only team in the West the Wild have failed to beat thus far this season. Minnesota has been outscored 10-1 in three games with Columbus.

The Blue Jackets are coming off a 5-5 tie with the conference-leading Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. Columbus squandered leads of 3-0, 4-2 and 5-3.

Marc Denis stopped 30 shots and broke New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur’s record for most minutes played by a goalie in one season. Denis finished the game with 4,451 minutes, surpassing Brodeur’s record of 4,433 set in 1995-96.

“I cherish every moment of it,” Denis said, “but I’d much rather be getting ready for the playoffs.”

STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 69 points, 5th place, 40 PB, Central Division. Wild - 93 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Geoff Sanderson, 32 goals; Ray Whitney, 52 assists and 76 points; Jody Shelley, 249 PIM. Wild - Marian Gaborik, 29 goals, 34 assists and 63 points; Matt Johnson, 201 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 4): Blue Jackets - Power play: 17.2 percent (70 for 406), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.5 percent (347 for 406), 7th. Wild - Power play: 14.0 percent (51 for 363), 26th Penalty killing: 86.2 percent (262 for 304), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Denis (27-40-8, 5 SO, 3.07 GAA); Jean-Francois Labbe (2-4-0, 0, 3.59). Wild - Dwayne Roloson (22-16-8, 4, 1.98); Fernandez (19-13-2, 2, 2.24).

SEASON SERIES: Blue Jackets, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: April 2; Blue Jackets, 3-0. At Columbus, Denis stopped 27 shots as the Blue Jackets used a three-goal burst in the last four minutes of the first period to stay perfect against Minnesota this season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 9-27-3-1 on the road; Wild - 24-13-3-0 at home.

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