COLUMBUS – A 7-1 thrashing of the Red Wings Thursday in Detroit didn’t just help the Wild keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.
It also was the best-case scenario for the first half of a back-to-back, since the team wasn’t overly worked before moving on to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets on Friday.
“I haven’t looked at all the numbers, but I’m pretty sure they’re all probably pretty even,” interim coach Dean Evason said after the win Thursday. “Nobody was really taxed, and we were able to roll six ‘D’ and all four lines. There’s no question when you get a back-to-back it’s nice to conserve some energy.”
Whether this means Evason will stick with the same lineup is unclear.
Defenseman Matt Bartkowski (pictured) was called up on an emergency basis from AHL Iowa, where he has two goals and 16 assists, along with 55 penalty minutes, in 55 games. He's been called up three times this season without playing.
The Wild didn’t skate Friday morning in Columbus, and Evason won’t address the media until closer to game time.
Goalie Alex Stalock made 25 saves against the Red Wings. He’s also 3-0 in his career against the Blue Jackets and was in net Tuesday when the Wild held on for a 5-4 win over Columbus at Xcel Energy Center.
Getting on the road didn’t derail that momentum.
Instead, the Wild has played some of its better games lately as the visitor. The team is on a four-game road win streak and is 12-7-2 over its last 21, scoring three or more goals in 16 of those contests.
Since Nov.5, the Wild leads the NHL in road goals per game at 3.81.
“We’re playing a good brand of hockey right now,” Stalock said. “We’re playing fast and getting back to not spending much time in our zone.”
Gerald Mayhew-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala
Marcus Foligno-Alex Galchenyuk-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Jordan Greenway
Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin or Matt Bartkowski-Matt Dumba
Brad Hunt-Greg Pateryn
3-1-1: Run for the Wild in its last five games vs. the Blue Jackets.
5-5-1: Showing by the Wild in its last 11 trips to Columbus.
19: Goals for the Wild during its last four road wins.
80: Second-period goals by the Wild, which ranks fourth in the NHL.
2-3-1: Record for the Wild in the second half of a back-to-back this season.
About the Blue Jackets:
Columbus hasn’t played since its Tuesday loss in Minnesota. That was the team’s league-leading 41st one-goal game this season. The Blue Jackets are 18-8-2 all-time at home against the Wild. Winger Emil Bemstrom is on a career-best three-game goal streak. Zach Werenski’s 19 goals are the most among NHL defensemen.