The Wild has dropped two straight and won just four times in its last 12 games, but the team is hoping a return to Xcel Energy Center helps the group reset – starting Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens, the beginning of a four-game homestand.
“We play really good hockey here,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “We’re really difficult to play against here. We have a lot of energy from the atmosphere and the fans, and we’ll certainly do our best to use that.”
Dubnyk will get the start after an abbreviated appearance in the team’s last game. He was pulled after giving up three goals on six shots in an eventual 7-2 rout by the Edmonton Oilers.
“He’s our guy,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “If he doesn’t play better, then we’re in for a long year. We’ve got to get him playing good, and one of the things that happens a lot of times when a guy has a game that he would like to forget, the next game he’s usually right on tune. So that’s what I’m hoping happens with Devan tonight.”
There are changes, however, elsewhere in the Wild’s lineup.
Charlie Coyle has shifted over to center wingers Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter. And forward Luke Kunin will make his season debut with the team after getting called up Sunday from the American Hockey League with captain Mikko Koivu sidelined with a lower-body injury.
“He’s been wanting to get up here for a long time,” Boudreau said. “This is his opportunity. He’s going to get a good chance. It’s up to him to do the job.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise-Charlie Coyle-Nino Niederreiter
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn
7: Straight wins for the Wild over the Canadiens.
7-1-1: Dubnyk’s career record vs. Montreal.
299: Career points for winger Zach Parise with the Wild.
9: Points for winger Mikael Granlund in his last eight games.
10: Goals for defenseman Matt Dumba, which is most in the NHL among defensemen.
About the Canadiens:
Montreal arrives in Minnesota on a roll. The Canadiens are 2-0 so far on their three-game road trip, and they’ve gone 4-0-1 in their last five games. With 15 wins and 35 points, the team is holding onto the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Winger Max Domi has settled in nicely after an offseason trade from Arizona; he leads Montreal with 14 goals and 31 points. Since returning from injury, defenseman Shea Weber has three goals and five points in six games.