Game 8: Detroit Red Wings (3-2-2) vs. Minnesota Wild (3-3-1)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1; Wings radio affiliates).
Game notes: Before the Wings start November celebrating a pair of Stanley Cups in the 1990s, they’ll face one of the men most responsible for denying them one in the 2000s: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The Wild netminder is well-removed from his days with the Penguins — it has been more than 13 years since he stopped 48 of 50 shots in Games 6-7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals to give the Pens a seven-game win over the Wings — but he’s not far off his great days. Fleury won the Vezina Trophy (awarded to the league’s top goalie) back in 2021 with the Golden Knights, then posted a .908 save percentage and 2.90 GAA last season with the Blackhawks and Wild.
He hasn’t been as sharp this season, with an .879 save percentage and a 3.88 GAA, but those numbers are elevated by the 11 combined goals he gave up in season-opening losses to the Rangers and Kings. In his four starts since — including three wins — Fleury has a .920 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA. Despite his playoff heroics in another uniform, Fleury has been mostly mortal against the Wings in the regular season: In 22 games, he’s 12-9-1 with an. 894 save percentage and 3.32 GAA.
By the way, these aren’t the defense-first Wild the Wings always faced back in their days in the Western Conference; Minnesota’s attack is led by veteran Mats Zuccarello, who has five goals and six assists in seven games, and 25-year-old Kirill Kaprizov, who has five goals and five assists in seven games. Kaprizov, in particular, is an MVP candidate, and he likes to play against the Wings, with three goals and an assist in two career games.
The Wings, meanwhile, will likely continue their goalie time-share, with Alex Nedeljkovic’s turn in net potentially arriving Saturday. In his second season in Detroit, Nedeljkovic is sporting an .890 save percentage and 3.96 GAA in three games. Then again, those numbers look sterling compared to his career stats against the Wild: 11 goals allowed in two games on 64 shots faced. Maybe Ville Husso should start getting ready, just in case.
After Saturday night’s tussle at LCA, the Wings head on the road for a Halloween tussle with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday before hosting the Caps and Isles on Nov. 3-5. The Wild, meanwhile, will zip over to Chicago for a Sunday matchup that wraps up their five-game trip, then return home for a game with the Canadiens on Tuesday.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings beat the Minnesota Wild, 2-1: Game thread replay