Wild, with wins in consecutive games for the first time in about a month, looks to win three in a row for the third time this season when it visits the St. Louis Blues.
The Wild lost opening night here, 3-2.
Jake Allen, winner of four straight, gets the nod for St. Louis. His home-road split contrast is pretty extraordinary. At home, he leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.24) and save percentage (.953).
I’m fairly certain Devan Dubnyk is getting the start tonight. Not your typical back-to-back because the Wild was at its hotel by 8:30 and the Wild really wants to get on its first roll in awhile as it opens a five-game trip.
Dubnyk is tied with Carey Price in even-strength save percentage (.957, includes one 3-on-3 goal), although Dubnyk has played two more games than Price.
He has allowed 15 goals in his last 12 games, stopping 356-of-368 shots in that span for a 1.26 GAA, a .959 SV% and four shutouts since Oct. 25. He is 9-6-1 with a 1.58 GAA, a .948 SV% and four shutouts in 16 starts this season – ranking first amongst NHL goalies with at least 10 games played in GAA and SV% while his 25 goals against this season are tied for the fifth-fewest.
I know off the top of my head that after being dealt to Minnesota in 2014-15, he was 5-0 in his last five second of back-to-backs with five goals allowed despite the Wild being outshot 183-111. I know that because I wrote it so much when the Wild was trying all of May and June to re-sign him two offseasons ago. Not positive right this second on his back-to-back starts last season.
As reported last night, Christian Folin will miss three to four weeks with a sprained left MCL.
“It's too bad,” Dubnyk said last night after beating the Penguins. “He's a big strong guy back there. He's been so solid for us. On this team we never want to see anybody going down. Anyone of D is a huge loss. Especially him.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau said it’s a big loss, especially with how well Folin has played, but “when somebody goes out, somebody’s got to come in and do just as good a job. Pross is probably as excited as any player to play on the right side and get a chance to play regularly for awhile.”
The “right side” is a reference to how he had to play his off side when lefty Marco Scandella was injured.
Prosser has been scratched in eight of the past nine games, and the one game he did play was 11 shifts at right wing. He has not played a game on the blue line since Nov. 5, but the Wild recalled Mike Reilly at the time to try to spark its power play.
“I did like his game,” Boudreau said of Prosser. “I always wanted Brodin and Folin coming back after a power play because it’s usually against the other team’s best line, but what I’ve seen now is Brods is more than adequate on the power play. So now you come back with Scandella and Prosser, and that’s what scandy does in the lineup. He gives you two guys to come back with [after a scoreless power play].”
Brodin texted with his pal and countryman, Folin, and he said Folin is very disappointed.
“It’s too bad. We’re going to miss him,” Brodin said. “He’s really strong and he plays hard and I played with him since the start of the season, so of course I’m going to miss him.
“It’s tough. He’s very disappointed, especially because he was playing so good.”
Prosser feels for Folin and unfortunately he’s used to the unenviable feeling of having to get back in the lineup whenever injuries occur to teammates.
He said, “It was a little awkward being up front [the one game], sitting on that side of the bench, in warmups, just everything about it, different positions in the D zone, different forecheck. It’s kind of trippy. Whenever I get a chance to play a game, it’s all good and smiles.”
Assistant coach Scott Stevens said of Folin, “He’ll be missed. He’s a big guy. He has size back there and strength, and we don’t have a lot of that.”
But on Prosser, Stevens said, “He’s a great team guy. He can miss eight games and come in and play so well. It’s hard to find those guys. Some guys lose their rhythm, it takes them awhile to get into the games. Pross is very good at coming in and out of the lineup. He’s very safe, brings bite, we’re very comfortable with him.”
My guess is the Wild will recall a defenseman at some point, but if it truly feels comfortable with Prosser playing, it may not be Reilly or Gustav Olofsson, especially because they’re lefties and the Wild wants them playing regular shifts with Iowa. The recall guy (maybe Hunter Warner or somebody) may just be as an insurance policy to have an extra on the three games out west.
That's it for now.
Nail Yakupov a healthy scratch yet again for the Blues. Alex Steen, who seems to roast Minnesota, is sidelined due to injury. Talk later.