Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/18/11
Injuries have been piling up for the Minnesota Wild, but that hasn't slowed the momentum they have created early in this NHL season. The latest casualty is defenseman Marek Zidlicky who suffered a concussion on their recent road trip. He joins fellow defenseman Greg Zanon and Marco Scandella on the shelf. That makes three key figures on the back end that are now out for a team that has been one of the league's best defensively all season. The Wild have the second-lowest goals-against average in the NHL at just over two per game. With the injuries come opportunities for young players including the latest call-up from the Houston Aeros, Kris Fredheim. Fredheim has put together a solid start to his season with the Aeros and his plus-7 rating was the best on the team when he was called up. Wild head coach Mike Yeo spoke Thursday morning about his young defender. "I really have not seen him play much this year but the reports have been very positive. Watching him at practice this morning you can see he is a very disciplined player and he has great hockey smarts." Fredheim made a mistake-free debut on Thursday night as he and the defensive corps shutout the high-scoring Colorado Avalanche 1-0. Fredheim played just over 10 minutes in the game and was even for the night while looking like the smart defender his coach spoke about earlier in the day. When asked about the night, Fredheim was soft-spoken and modest. "I was nervous before the game but once I got out there it was just hockey. This is a very easy team to play for from my perspective, these guys play great team defense and I just wanted to do my job." Head coach Mike Yeo said there was no timetable established yet for any of his injured players so there is a good chance Fredheim will get more action in the next few games. Assistant coach Rick Wilson, who works primarily with the defensemen, says of the newest member of the team, "Kris is a very solid defender and he plays a responsible game... I was quite pleased with the way he played (Thursday)." After the 1-0 win Thursday night the Minnesota Wild improved to 11-5-3 (25 points) which leads the Northwest Division and puts them just two points out of the top spot in the Western Conference. Minnesota is 8-2 in their last 10 games and in those 10 games they have only allowed 15 total goals against. On Saturday night the Wild will welcome the St. Louis Blues to the Xcel Energy Center and FOX Sports North will have all the action covered starting at 6:30 pm with Wild Live presented by Century Link.
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