Wild vs. Flyers game preview: Returning to St. Paul in hopes of a mental reset


vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Xcel Energy Center, 7 p.m. Friday

TV; radio: BSN Extra; 100.3 FM

Stats and analytics: Tap here.

Pregame reading: Jesper Wallstedt's NHL debut was a dud, and he knew it.

Sarah McLellan's preview:

Opening bell: The spiraling Wild return home for a weekend back-to-back and three games in four nights at home. They've dropped six of their last seven, and the Wild (17-19-4) have lost four in a row at Xcel Energy Center. Philadelphia has been up and down, going 2-2-1 in its past five games, but the Flyers (21-14-6) are in a much better position standings-wise than the Wild. They ranked third in the Metropolitan Division after a 3-2 shootout win vs. Montreal on Wednesday.

Watch him: D Jamie Drysdale had a solid Flyers debut on Wednesday, picking up an assist and skating 19 minutes, 46 seconds. Drysdale was part of a blockbuster trade on Monday that sent Cutter Gauthier, the fifth overall pick in 2022, to Anaheim after Gauthier told Philadelphia he didn't want to play for the team. Drysdale, the sixth overall selection in 2020, has a goal and five assists in 11 games this season.

Injuries: Wild D Jonas Brodin (upper body), G Filip Gustavsson (lower body), LW Kirill Kaprizov (upper body), RW Vinni Lettieri (lower body) and D Jared Spurgeon (lower body). Flyers LW Noah Cates (lower body).

Forecast: The Flyers routed the Wild already once this season, a 6-2 blowout on Oct. 26, and an encore isn't unreasonable if the Wild don't correct their recent problems. Scoring is down, and they're also missing timely contributions to flip momentum or hold onto it. The Wild have limited their penalties lately, and yet they're still giving up too many goals. Stingier structure and better puck protection is key, especially to avoid fueling the other team's transition game; that helped Dallas run away for a 7-2 romp on Wednesday.

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