Pens visit Wild in clash of streaking clubs

( – A pair of streaking clubs will meet Tuesday in St. Paul,
as the sizzling Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Minnesota Wild in a showdown
at Xcel Energy Center.

The Penguins and Wild have been two of the league’s better teams in 2014-15,
with Pittsburgh posting a 7-2-1 record so far and Minnesota entering Tuesday
with a 7-3-0 mark. Pittsburgh is currently riding a four-game winning streak,
and the Wild have come out on top in three straight and five of their last six

Pittsburgh has been firing on all cylinders lately, having outscored the
opposition by a 19-3 margin over the last four games. Pens goaltender Marc-
Andre Fleury also has posted his first three shutouts of the season during the
span and is now tied with Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper for the league lead.

Fleury only needed to stop 18 shots for the shutout in Saturday’s 5-0 rout of
the visiting Buffalo Sabres.

“As a team, I think we’ve been pretty solid and not giving up much,” said

Fleury could start in net tonight, but he has never beaten the Wild in his
career, going 0-5-0 with a 3.74 goals against average versus Minnesota.

Chris Kunitz scored twice and notched an assist in Saturday’s easy win and has
four goals and seven points over his last three games.

Evgeni Malkin finished with a goal and two assists, Blake Comeau and Patric
Hornqvist also scored and Sidney Crosby supplied three assists for Pittsburgh.
Crosby was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Month for October, and he is
leading the league with 18 points on seven goals and 11 assists.

Pittsburgh is opening a five-game road trip tonight and is 2-0-1 as the guest
this season.

The Wild posted their third straight win Saturday against visiting Dallas,
with Kuemper making 19 saves in the 4-1 victory over the Stars.

Minnesota failed to score on its first power play of the game, moving them to
0-for-28 on the season. But Thomas Vanek scored at 19:03 of the second period
with Jamie Benn off for holding to end the drought and pick up his first goal
with Minnesota.

The Wild had been the only team without a power-play goal entering Saturday,
but went 2-for-4 on the man advantage. Nino Niederreiter scored 5:03 into the
third period with Benn off for slashing, giving the Wild their 4-1 lead.

“It was a good feeling to kind of get the monkey off our back,” said Wild
defenseman Matt Dumba. “I don’t think we were feeling it that much. We were
just sticking with our game. We knew it was going to come eventually. It was
just one of those things where we weren’t getting the bounces but hopefully
now we can get it going.”

Mikael Granlund and Matt Dumba also scored for the Wild, who are aiming for
their first four-game winning streak since April 5-10 of last season.

Minnesota has gotten the better of the Pens over the years, going 10-4-0 with
a tie in the 15 all-time meetings between the clubs. The Wild have claimed
five of the last seven encounters overall and two of the past three tests in
St. Paul.

Former Penguins forward Matt Cooke is expected to miss tonight’s game with a
lower-body injury.