The Minnesota Wild have looked better on the road than in their home arena this season. They’ll continue their current trip with a visit to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Minnesota began the season with four consecutive home games and lost the first three before pulling out an overtime win against Vancouver. The Wild then embarked on a five-game road trip and collected five points during the first three stops.
In their last two games, they’ve notched regulation victories over Montreal and Ottawa.
“We looked a lot more like ourselves,” forward Ryan Hartman said. “We’ve just got to continue that. That’s how we need to play to win games.”
Marc-Andre Fleury has been the goaltender in the past four games. He allowed just one goal against the Canadiens, then stopped 27 shots in the 4-2 victory over the Senators.
“He made some huge saves, obviously, when he needed to keep the momentum going in our direction,” coach Dean Evason said.
The 37-year-old Fleury has been in the league since the 2003-04 season. He gave up 11 goals in his first two outings this season but has since played up to his usual standards.
“He’s done it for 20 years now, so it’s not surprising,” forward Mats Zuccarello said.
Hartman, Frederick Gaudreau and Kirill Kaprizov each had a goal and an assist in the latest win. Zuccarello and Kaprizov have scored five goals apiece to lead the Wild. Zuccarello also has a team-high 11 points, one more than Kaprizov.
Detroit has been heading in the opposite direction. The Red Wings were the last team in the league to suffer a regulation loss. They now have two after falling to New Jersey 6-2 and Boston 5-1.
In the latter, the Bruins scored three goals in the first five minutes of the third period to put the game away on Thursday.
“A couple decent periods there against a very good team,” Detroit defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “A tough building to come into. In the third period, I think you saw a little bit of experience on that side versus a little bit of the inexperience on our side.”
Boston scored three power-play goals, including two during its third-period flurry.
“It’s too bad the game got away from us because we did a lot of good things in the first and second,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “We got within a goal there, and in the third, you put that team on the power play so much, that’s going to hurt you.”
Adam Erne scored the Red Wings’ lone goal in the second, which Lalonde felt was one of the team’s better defensive periods this season.
“We didn’t give up a single five-on-five scoring chance in the second period, and that’s unheard of in this league,” Lalonde said. “So, it’s a positive hopefully we can build on. With that said, we need more consistency throughout our entire game.”
Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Larkin and David Perron lead Detroit with four goals apiece. Ville Husso and Alex Nedeljkovic have rotated on a game-by-game basis at goaltender. If that trend continues, Nedeljkovic will protect Detroit’s net on Saturday.
Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen will not be available after receiving a two-game suspension Friday for high-sticking Boston forward David Krejci.
–Field Level Media