Wild to pay tribute to Fleury before game against Penguins


vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Xcel Energy Center, 7 p.m. Friday

TV; radio: BSN; 100.3 FM

Stats and analytics: Tap here.

For the fans: The Wild will have a pregame ceremony to honor goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for playing 1,000 games and passing Patrick Roy for the second-most wins in NHL history. All fans in attendance will receive a commemorative ticket, lanyard and rally towel. During warmups, the Wild will wear Fleury-themed jerseys that will be autographed and auctioned to benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation.

Sarah McLellan's preview:

Opening bell: The Wild won their first game after the All-Star break, but their 2-1 victory at Chicago on Wednesday was far from a masterpiece. For a third straight game, the Wild couldn't score an insurance goal and ended up blowing their lead. But a clutch finish by LW Marcus Foligno and two key saves, one from G Filip Gustavsson and the other by RW Vinni Lettieri, in the third period lifted the Wild (22-23-5) past the Blackhawks. The Wild will return to the road after hosting the Penguins; like the Wild, Pittsburgh (23-17-7) was victorious in its first game after the break, shutting out Winnipeg 3-0 on Tuesday.

Watch him: Marc-Andre Fleury is scheduled to make his first start since exiting the NHL's concussion protocol after getting hit behind the net by Florida's Will Lockwood on Jan. 19. Before removing himself from that game, Fleury had stopped 10 of 11 shots. His last win was a 21-save shutout Jan. 15 vs. the New York Islanders that moved him past Roy into sole possession of second place for all-time victories with 552.

Injuries: Wild D Jonas Brodin (illness), C Connor Dewar (lower body), RW Pat Maroon (back) and D Jared Spurgeon (hip/back). Penguins C Noel Acciari (concussion) and LW Matt Nieto (knee).

Forecast: If the Wild play like they did in Chicago, they could be in for a long night. The Penguins are much more competitive, and they're desperate for points to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Pittsburgh also had the upper hand the last time these two teams faced off, overcoming a late rally by the Wild to win 4-3 on Dec. 18. A better showing by the Wild's top players would be a step in the right direction; their top two lines struggled vs. the Blackhawks, with the third and fourth lines setting the tone.

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