Despite successfully fending off the Predators Saturday, the Wild won’t stick with the same lineup Sunday when it finishes off a back-to-back at home against the Bruins.
Winger Zack Mitchell is poised to take winger Tyler Ennis’ spot, and backup Alex Stalock will get the start instead of No.1 Devan Dubnyk.
“That was the plan all along,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of the goaltending decision. “The more we thought about it, the better it was. We thought the last time we did the back-to-back that Duby was a little tired two weeks ago. With all the games we have coming up and Alex has been really good at home, we feel it’s a good call.”
Stalock has faced the Bruins only once before, making nine saves in relief earlier this season in Boston. The Wild lost that game 5-3, but much has changed since that Nov. 6 contest.
While the team was up and down for much of the first half of the season, it’s been on a mostly steady incline of late. After that 4-1 win over the Predators, the Wild remained in the third spot in the Central Division – two points ahead of the Avalanche, who tied the Wild briefly Saturday after its shootout win over the Golden Knights.
“It’s tight,” center Eric Staal said. “It’s going to continue to be a dog fight here the last eight, so we’ll follow it up hopefully with a big win [Sunday].”
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter-Matt Cullen-Zack Mitchell
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Daniel Winnik
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Ryan Murphy
Nick Seeler-Nate Prosser
5-7-1: The Wild’s record in the second game of a back-to-back.
7: Points in the last four games for the Wild.
6: Game-winning goals for winger Jason Zucker.
4: Points for Bruins rookie Ryan Donato in three games.
32-0-4: Boston’s record in games when the team has a two-goal lead.
About the Bruins:
Boston has already clinched a playoff berth, sitting at 46 points and boasting 102 points. Since the beginning of March, the team has lost only twice in regulation. More recently, the Bruins are 2-0-2 in their last four games. Winger Brad Marchand leads the team in goals (32), assists (46) and points (78). Goalie Tuukka Rask is 31-11-5 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.