Morning from St. Paul.
The Wild closes a three-game homestand tonight against the Colorado Avalanche after splitting the first two games against Calgary and Boston. The Wild is 1-2 in its past three home games with two goals scored and 6-4 in the past 10 games overall despite only allowing 10 goals.
It has scored 23 goals in that stretch.
The Wild lost 1-0 at Colorado on Nov. 5 despite playing pretty well. The Wild has posted an 8-2-1 record against the Avalanche in the past 11 meetings, including five shutout victories. Minnesota has outscored Colorado, 33-14, and has outshot the Avalanche, 368-276, in those 11 games.
Goalies Devan Dubnyk, who has an NHL-high 14 shutouts since Jan. 15, 2015, will start. He has allowed nine goals in his past nine starts, stopping 270 of 279 shots for a .968 save percentage, 1.01 goals-against average and league-high four shutouts. He leads the NHL with a 1.48 goals-against average and .952 save percentage this season.
Since Oct. 25, the Wild has allowed 10 goals in 10 games, leading the league in fewest goals against, in goals-against average (1.00), save percentage (.968) and in shutouts (4). Overall, Minnesota leads the league with 29 goals against this season, a 1.81 GAA and a .941 SV%.
The Wild is 6-1-1 against current playoff teams, 3-5 against current non-playoff teams, like Colorado.
While the Wild will catch a break tonight because Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and center Matt Duchene won't play, I'm also hearing through the grapevine that Zach Parise is doubtful or already ruled out with an illness.
That'd be the second game in a row he has missed against the Avs, which is never good because he has 13 goals and 30 points in 26 games against Colorado. In fact, he had six goals and three assists against Colorado last season alone.
I'm told instead of calling up a forward, the Wild will use defenseman Nate Prosser for at least a few shifts at wing. Coach Bruce Boudreau would only say "there's a chance" when I asked if he'd play wing, but then indicated that if Prosser were to play, it'd be as a seventh defenseman and the Wild would double shift a forward on the fourth line from one of the top lines.
If I'm correct Prosser will see some shifts at wing, I'd think Chris Stewart or Zack Mitchell move to the third line on those occasions. I'd assume Jason Pominville moves to the Mikael Granlund-Mikko Koivu line for Parise.
Prosser played two games at wing for Mike Yeo once.
Boudreau wouldn't confirm Parise was doubtful, so we'll find out in warmups.
Parise has played two games in a row since missing six. The Wild went 3-3 in those contests.
Prosser, despite playing in Boudreau's words "great" before being taken out of the lineup, has been scratched five games in a row. But the Wild wanted to bring up Mike Reilly to spark the power play, although that hasn't come into fruition.
The Wild's power play this season is 6 for 47 (12.8 percent, 24th in the NHL), ranking 12th at home at 21.1 percent and 29th on the road at 7.1 percent.
Asked what the Wild has to do better there, Boudreau said, "Not miss open nets. It seems every game – I know our power-play numbers are horrible, but at the same time every game we have some great looks on the power play. To me it’s a matter of continue doing what you’re doing, but just bury it when you get the opportunity. That becomes a snowball effect. If you get one, you usually get two, and it grows like that.
"So that’s what we’re hoping for."