The Wild held a quick practice this morning before heading to Nashville, where it faces the Predators on Saturday night.
The Wild is 6-0-3 in its past nine, has given up only nine goals in the past eight games, and has scored 11 in its past two after Thursday night’s 5-2 win over the Rangers.
“There was a sense of desperation that needed to get into our game, and that raised it to another level, and we need to keep that sense of desperation,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said after practice. “We need to take advantage of games at home and in games against division rivals.”
Nashville is on a 4-8-3 stretch that has dropped it four points behind the third-place Wild in the Central. The Wild is eight behind first-place Dallas and two back of St. Louis (with three games in hand).
“They’re a desperate team, games haven’t gone their way lately, but we know they get geared up to play us,” Yeo said of the Predators.
Yeo said he’ll use the same lineup against the Predators, meaning Devan Dubnyk will get the net and Erik Haula will sit.
Chris Miller here at the X subbing in for Russo, who is in Music City testing out cowboy hats for tonight’s karaoke performance of “The Night Mike Keenan Drove Old Dixie Down.” At least that’s how I envision the evening unfolding.
The Wild has gone 5-for-8 on power plays the past two games, raising it to ninth in the league in power play percentage (.208) and second at home (.278). It is only .128 on the road, however, 26th in the 30-team NHL.
“Power play the last couple of games has been key for us; we have to find a way to bring it on the road now,” Yeo said. “It’s been outstanding at home for us, we obviously want to stay on top of that, but it’s not just scoring goals, but scoring goals at key times.”
Mikko Koivu had two goals Thursday, has seven points in the past two games.
“If you’re not getting chances, that’s not good. But a lot of times you’re getting chances, and they just don’t go in," Koivu said. "As a team, we were getting chances a lot on the road, and they weren’t going in, but the last two games, the puck has gone in.”
“On our power play, teams were adjusting ... We’ve made a couple of changes, but the puck seems to be going in. As long as you are creating and getting momentum for the team, that’s a good sign.”
Jarret Stoll made his Wild debut on Thursday against his former team and won 11 of 15 faceoffs.
“The first penalty he took, he almost helped us – we almost scored two shorthanded goals on it,” Yeo joked. “But I mean, you look at that [penalty] kill in the third period, it’s just so huge you put a guy out there and he wins the faceoff and the puck is down the ice. The things he’s saying, the attitude he brings, it was a good first impression.”
“It’ll take a little bit of time for us to figure out the best way to use him. It’ll take him a little bit of time to get used to his linemates, to get used to the way we’re playing the game.”
Complete coverage of last night is here. No podcasts, radio appearances or personal testimonies scheduled for me to day -- it's back to the office to grind. Thanks for reading.