After a one-game return home to host the Penguins, the Wild is back on the road and starting a four-game tour of the Eastern Conference Thursday when it visits the Maple Leafs in Toronto for a matinee at Scotiabank Arena.
The Wild is 4-6-1 vs. the East so far this season, and winger Mikael Granlund has a team-best 14 points in those games.
In its only other meeting with the Maple Leafs this season, the Wild was upended 5-3 at Xcel Energy Center Dec.1. Since then, the Wild has scored three or more goals in a game just four times over a 12-game span. Only two teams have scored fewer goals than the Wild’s 30 since the start of December.
The team, however, could add a more puck-moving dynamic to its lineup Thursday after recalling defenseman Ryan Murphy Tuesday.
In 27 games with Iowa this season in the American Hockey League, Murphy had three goals and 13 points – tying for first among team defensemen in goals and sitting second in points. Through 21 games with the Wild last season, he tallied two goals and five points.
Murphy could be paired with defenseman Nick Seeler on the Wild’s third pairing since it sounds like Seeler is ready to return from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for two games.
Injury has also affected Toronto of late; before puck drop Thursday, the team recalled goalies Michael Hutchinson and Kasimir Kaskisuo from the AHL on an emergency basis. Usual starter Frederik Andersen (groin) has been placed on injured reserve, and Garret Sparks is being withheld from the game for precautionary reasons and is going through concussion protocol.
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise-Charlie Coyle-Luke Kunin
Jordan Greenway-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niederreiter
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-Matt Hendricks
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler-Ryan Murphy
28.4: Average shots against the Wild per road game, which is the fewest in the NHL.
10: Road goals for winger Zach Parise.
4: Points for Parise during a three-game point streak.
8-2: The Wild’s record in its last 10 games vs. the Maple Leafs.
51: Points for center Eric Staal in 46 career games against Toronto.
About the Maple Leafs:
Toronto remains near the top of the standings, sitting second in the Atlantic Division and second overall with 26 wins and 54 points. The team hasn’t played since Saturday when it suffered a 4-0 loss to the Islanders that snapped its five-game win streak. Center John Tavares leads the Maple Leafs in goals with 26. He’s two shy of 300 for his career. Winger Mitch Marner’s 53 points pace the pack.