Wild take to the road after lengthy homestand, face Jackets

The Minnesota Wild finally return to the road Thursday night, looking to continue their winning ways when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Wild won the last three games of their season-long, seven-game homestand, going 4-2-1 during the stretch.

Right wing Ryan Hartman scored twice for the Wild in their third straight win, a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. The win helped Minnesota remain in the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Calgary.

The goals were Hartman’s eighth and ninth of the season, four of which have been scored in the past six games. Hartman has scored the game-winning goals in the Wild’s last two games.

“I’m getting a lot more odd-man rushes than earlier in the year,” Hartman said. “We’re getting opportunities to score and shooting opportunities from good areas. So, that wasn’t really the case before.”

Goalie Filip Gustavsson made 33 saves for the Wild, whose four homestand wins all came by one goal.

“It started off tough,” Gustavsson said of the homestand. “We were out of the wild-card spot. We had a little dip in our confidence. It didn’t feel like the bounces were going our way.”

The Wild have not allowed a power-play goal over their last eight games, with opponents going 0-for-19 during the man advantage during that stretch.

The Blue Jackets return to Columbus after splitting a two-game road trip through Dallas and Arizona.

Barrett Hayton scored two minutes into overtime to give the Arizona Coyotes a 3-2 win against the Blue Jackets on Sunday. Hayton took a cross-slot pass from Matias Maccelli in the right circle and beat Elvis Merzlikins for the decisive goal.

Boone Jenner had a goal and an assist while Merzlikins made 22 saves for the Blue Jackets, who were denied in their bid for a season-best third straight win. Columbus remains mired in last place in the Eastern Conference with 41 points.

“The last little stretch here, we’ve played some good hockey. It’s details and competitiveness, and we’re kind of dialing in on that,” Jenner said. “Obviously, when you do that, you’re going to get better results.”

Jenner scored Columbus’ first goal at 13:23 of the second period to cut Arizona’s lead to 2-1, deflecting Nick Blankenburg’s wrist shot from the edge of the right circle.

“That was big. We had chances throughout the first and early on in the second,” Blankenburg said. “Then you get one, and you can keep building off that momentum shift after shift, which ended up happening on that goal.”

Patrik Laine tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal at 15:07 of the third, scoring on a one-timer from the top of the left circle off a cross-ice pass from Adam Boqvist.

“Obviously, you want to have a little better start and a couple of the recent games we haven’t had a good start,” Jenner said. ”But we found our game in the second and third.”

–Field Level Media