Preview: Wild vs Penguins 18 Oct 11

Preview: Penguins at Wild

THE STORY: The Minnesota Wild have a habit of making things interesting. Only one of their five games has been decided by more than one goal and three have gone past regulation. Coming off its second overtime loss,Minnesota is dealing with some inconsistencies on both ends as Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi work themselves into a new system. The Wild are averaging just over two goals per game and are 1 for 14 on the power play over their last four contests. The specter of Sidney Crosby’s return looms over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have yet to set a timetable for their star. It won’t come Tuesday, as Crosby did not join the team on its two-game road trip. Also not in the lineup are fellow forwards Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy, leaving the Penguins thin offensively. Pittsburgh will be looking to snap a three-game slide at Minnesota on Tuesday.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN2

ABOUT THE PENGUINS (3-2-2): Crosby returned to full-contact practice Friday but is not yet ready for game action. Kennedy is also dealing with a concussion while Malkin sits with a sore knee. Pittsburgh has managed five goals in the last three games and handed the Winnipeg Jets their first win 2-1 on Monday.

ABOUT THE WILD (2-1-2): Minnesota only put 14 shots on goal in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, letting a 2-0 lead slip away. That came two nights after the Wild’s first 30-plus shot game in a 2-1 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers. Top forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mikko Koivu, Heatley and Setoguchi are a combined minus-one.

1. The Wild have won four straight and seven of eight in the series, including a 4-0 triumph at Pittsburgh in January.
2. Pittsburgh is 21 of 22 on the penalty kill, with the lone misstep coming in overtime against Washington on Thursday.
3. Minnesota goaltender Josh Harding started for the first time in 568 days against Detroit.

PREDICTION: Wild 3, Penguins 1. Minnesota is strong defensively and Pittsburgh is having trouble scoring.