(SportsNetwork.com) – The Minnesota Wild haven’t just played themselves into
the playoff conversation, they are dominating the whole discussion.
The Wild shoot for a fourth straight victory overall and seventh in a row at
home on Tuesday night when they take on the Edmonton Oilers.
Minnesota has put together an 11-1-1 mark since the All-Star break and as a
result has moved into possession of the second wild card spot in the Western
Conference. The Wild, though, do own just a slim one-point edge over both the
Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks for that playoff berth.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has played a big part in the Wild’s turnaround, with
the club 13-2-2 since acquiring him from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14, but
it was the offense that stepped up in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars.
Minnesota was held off the scoreboard until erupting for six goals in the
third period, two of those off the stick of Zach Parise. Mikael Granlund had a
goal and two assists, while Mikko Koivu, Matt Dumba and Stephane Veilleux all
scored as well.
“We’ve been playing some good hockey lately,” said Parise. “We’re in the
Dubnyk made 18 saves and is expected to start his 18th game in a row tonight.
It will also be his sixth of the season versus the Oilers and he has allowed
just four goals in winning the first five. Three of those wins came with the
Minnesota is looking to sweep its three-game season series versus Edmonton,
with Dubnyk making 15 saves in a 4-0 shutout road win last Friday. The Wild
have won eight of 10 and 17 of their past 21 versus the Oilers overall.
Edmonton, last in the Western conference with 44 points, lost a close 2-1
decision to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. The Oilers allowed a goal just 45
seconds in, but tied the contest on Teddy Purcell’s goal only 28 ticks into
the second frame.
However, despite 19 saves from goaltender Ben Scrivens, the Ducks picked up
the winning goal midway through the third period to hand the Oilers their
seventh setback in 10 games.
“They took it to us early,” said Purcell. “After that, we kind of got our
legs, stopped feeling them out and we kind of took the play back to them in
the first (period).”
Scrivens could make a fourth straight start tonight and has lost each of his
previous three career meetings with the Wild. He has a 3.67 goals against
average and .868 save percentage over that span and allowed four goals on 29
shots in last week’s loss.
Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry has missed the previous two games with bruised
ribs, but could return to action tonight.