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Penguins vs. Wild Scouting Report

Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 12:15 AM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Wild Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 1-1-1-3
Road: 2-1-1-5

WHEN: Oct. 18, 2011 - 7:30 pm   |   WHERE: Xcel Energy Center
Versus, ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Minnesota Wild
Home: 2-0-1-5

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Minnesota Wild 






Devin Setoguchi
RW  -  #10
  2 Goals
  0 Assists
  2 Points
• Wild GM Chuck Fletcher acquired the young talent along with promising prospect Charlie Coyle this summer in exchange for longtime blueliner Brent Burns.

• The 24-year-old has blossomed into one of the best young goal scorers in the NHL, recording at least 20 goals in each of his last three seasons – including 31 in 2008-09.

• The Sharks’ first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft played a big role in their trip to the Western Conference Final last season, notching seven goals in 18 postseason games.
Guillaume Latendresse
LW -  #48
  0 Goals
  4 Assists
  4 Points
• Played just 11 games in 2010-11 because of hip surgery, sports hernia surgery and a lower-body injury.

• Had enjoyed a breakout season the year before, posting a career-high 27 goals split between Montreal and Minnesota (who acquired him on Nov. 23, 2009 in exchange for Benoit Pouliot).

• Strong power forward (6-foot-2, 234 pounds) – taken second overall in the 2003 QMJHL Draft behind Penguins captain Sidney Crosby years ago – has notched six points in 12 career games vs. Pittsburgh.
Matt Cullen
C  -  #7
  3 goals
  0 assists
  3 points
• Minnesota native is in his second season with the Wild, scoring 39 points (12G-27A) in 2010-11 while leading the team with a 56.1-percent success rate in the dot.

• Speedy veteran forward is currently centering the Wild’s second line between Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and has been thriving in new head coach Mike Yeo’s system, scoring thrice in five games.

Cullen, who has 24 points (9G-15A) in 34 career tilts vs. Pittsburgh, played two full seasons and part of a third alongside Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma in Anaheim from 2000-03.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher – former assistant GM of the Penguins – pulled off some blockbuster moves this summer to overhaul his roster, as Minnesota has missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons.

Not only did he peg former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Penguins assistant coach Mike Yeo to be the youngest head coach in the NHL, but Fletcher made a splash at the 2011 Entry Draft (which his organization hosted) when he acquired sniper Dany Heatley from San Jose in exchange for Martin Havlat. A mere nine days later, Fletcher again made waves when he landed Devin Setoguchi, prospect Charlie Coyle and a first-round draft pick from the Sharks in exchange for defenseman Brent Burns and a second-round draft pick.

Heatley, 30, and Setoguchi, 24, were brought in to revitalize the Wild’s offense, which finished fourth-worst in goals per game last season. Heatley is one of the league's elite scorers, averaging more than a point-per-game in his nine-year NHL career. Setoguchi, meanwhile, has become one of the league’s best young goal scorers – posting 20-plus tallies each of the last three seasons – and still has plenty of potential. They have been flanking captain Mikko Koivu on the first line, and while they combined for seven points in the Wild’s first three games, the trio has been held pointless the last two contests.

Minnesota’s second line has actually been stepping up and shouldering the load, with Matt Cullen’s three goals pacing the team. He’s posted 24 points (9G-15A) in 34 career games against the Penguins, while linemates Guillame Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard have already combined for six helpers. And while they’ve added some elite offensive talent, the Wild still has plenty of complimentary grit in the mix led by Cal Clutterbuck – who has led the league in hits each of the past three seasons,

Burns had been the heart and soul of the Wild’s blue line since making the jump to the NHL the same year he was drafted (2003). His shoes (or skates?) will be tough to fill, but the Wild have some promising young blueliners in Marco Scandella and Clayton Spurgeon to go along with veterans Marek Zidlicky, Greg Zanon and Nick Schultz.

The Penguins should be seeing Niklas Backstrom, a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2008-09, back between the pipes. He earned a pair of wins against Pittsburgh in 2009-10 before missing the teams’ only meeting last season with a groin injury. He's 3-0-0 all-time vs. the Penguins, with a 1.62 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.
  • Mike Yeo was named head coach of the Wild on June 17 after spending the 2010-11 campaign as head coach of Minnesota’s AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros. Prior to that, Yeo served as assistant coach of the Penguins from 2005-10. During Yeo’s tenure in Pittsburgh, the Penguins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final twice and won it all in 2009.
  • During his first full season as an assistant with Pittsburgh, Yeo helped the Penguins to a 47-point improvement from the previous season – the fourth-largest turnaround from one season to the next in NHL history.
  • Yeo began his coaching career as an assistant coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Penguins’ top minor-league affiliate. He helped WBS win a Western Conference title, an Eastern Conference title and two appearances in the Calder Cup Final.
  • Yeo is currently the youngest head coach in the NHL at 38 years old. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, who served as Penguins assistant GM under Ray Shero from 2006-09, appointed him to the position.
  • Penguins goalie Brent Johnson is 3-3-2 all-time against Minnesota, with an impressive 1.60 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. Meanwhile, Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is 3-0-0 all-time vs. Pittsburgh, earning a 1.62 goals-against average and .949 save percentage.
  • Penguins winger Steve Sullivan has lit up the Wild during his 14-year NHL career, spent mostly in the Western Conference. Sullivan has compiled 10 goals and 27 points in 27 total games vs. Minnesota.
  • Pascal Dupuis started his career with Minnesota back in 2000, spending parts of six seasons with the Wild after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent. He established career-highs across the board with Minnesota in 2002-03, tallying 20 goals, 28 assists, 48 points and a plus-17 rating.
  • New Wild winger Dany Heatley has amassed a staggering 20 goals and 31 points in 27 career games against the Penguins.
  • Minnesota is one of just two teams Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has yet to beat (San Jose is the other). The Wild are 9-2-1 all-time against the Penguins, and the Penguins are looking to snap a three-game losing streak and a four-game winless stretch against Minnesota. Pittsburgh hasn’t beaten the Wild since a 4-2 win on Oct. 30, 2007 at Xcel Energy Center.




2010-11 STAT CHART

F Sidney Crosby, concussion (indefinitely)
F Dustin Jeffrey, knee (indefinitely)
F Tyler Kennedy, concussion-like symptoms (indefinitely)
F Evgeni Malkin, lower-body (day-to-day)
D Brooks Orpik, lower abdominal/hernia (day-to-day)
Neal (5) Cullen (3)
Letang (6) Latendresse (4)
Letang (7)
Latendresse (4)
Engelland (11) Latendresse (6)
Letang (3) Latendresse (3)
Neal (2) Three tied with (1)
Park/Cooke (1)
Johnson (0-0-2)
Backstrom (2-1-1)
Fleury (1.88) Pavelec (1.94)
Fleury (.926) Backstrom (.928)

F Cody Almond, back (indefinitely)
D Mike Lundin, back (indefinitely)


Game Notes: Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild
Penguins Recall Defenseman Brian Strait
Watch: Minnesota Scouting Report
Endgame: Jets 2, Penguins 1 
Penguins Report: Game Day at Winnipeg 
Crosby, Penguins Announce Return Of Little Penguins ‘Learn to Play’ Program 

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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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