Wild and Arizona Coyotes tonight at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild has a 13-game point streak against the Western Conference (11-0-2). The Wild, which has only lost consecutive games in regulation once this season (Nov. 1 and 5), will try to avoid that. It’s coming off its second regulation loss since Nov. 29 (17-2-2) after blowing two third-period one-goal leads Tuesday against New Jersey.
Seems impossible but the Wild is 9-1-2 in its past 12 meetings against Arizona, including a current nine-game point streak (7-0-2). Yet, it’s 5-6-1 in its past 12 games with Arizona at Xcel Energy Center
I'll be on KFAN with Dan Barreiro at 5:15 p.m.
If you missed it, here's my Mikael Granlund feature from today's paper. I talked to John Torchetti for the story because I wanted to remind myself why he moved Granlund to wing. He was also so good talking about the Wild, I'll make my Sunday column on the former Wild interim coach.
Coyotes blew a 2-1 lead in Winnipeg last night and lost 6-3. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, whom Dave Tippett lit up like a Christmas tree earlier this season after the Coyotes lost to Minnesota, was a minus-FIVE.
They have lost 12 of 14 starting with that Minnesota loss Dec. 17.
This is Arizona's fifth game in seven days, so the opportunity is there for the Wild to rebound from its loss to New Jersey the other night.
Mike Reilly got the recall with Jonas Brodin out at least a month with a broken finger on his right hand.
Reilly, who played last night for Iowa, won't play tonight though. Nate Prosser will play left D, maybe with Matt Dumba. That's the way it was paired in today's optional skate.
Bruce Boudreau would only say Marco Scandella won't take Brodin's spot on the power play, so that must mean he'll go with a forward. Without practice, one can assume the only forward that would fit that role is Jason Pominville. You're not tossing a Granlund or Jason Zucker in that spot without practicing there first.
I'd assume Boudreau revamps the lines tonight after Zach Parise, Eric Staal and Pominville were on for all three third-period goals the other night. Unable to give you what they'll be yet though because Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle missed practice yesterday and the team has an optional today.
If it were me, I'd return Nino Niederreiter and Coyle to Staal's flanks and go with a third line of Parise, Erik Haula and Pominville or Jordan Schroeder.
The latter may make the most sense after Pominville's game the other night vs. New Jersey. Plus, the way Schroeder has teed up Chris Stewart, maybe he can do the same for Parise, who has no points in the past four games despite the Wild having 18 goals in that span.
"I've been known to tinker in the past," Boudreau said. "We will look at it and we'll see what was happening. [The Staal line] all acknowledged that they could be better. We will see how it goes."
As for Reilly, Boudreau said Iowa coach Derek Lalonde said he was playing the best and GM Chuck Fletcher, who attended last night's Iowa game, confirmed that fact.
Interestingly, Reilly played nine games for the Wild, which went 4-4-1 in those games. His last game was the overtime loss to Dallas on Nov. 21. The Wild beat Winnipeg the next game and is 19-3-3 since the last time he was in Minnesota's lineup.
Boudreau agreed Reilly was pretty erratic back then, but "at the beginning of the year we were erratic too, so when he made a mistake it was probably blown a little bit more out of proportion than it actually was.
"I don't think he had the confidence. One of the reasons he got sent down was to build the confidence. He has been playing really well, so he's coming up here probably a different player."
And, that's what Reilly said.
“The team has been doing better down there and that always helps," he said. "Just rounding out the game, I’ve been getting a lot of minutes, that always helps. I get to play in every situation where realistically, I probably wouldn’t be in those situations up here, at least right away. It’s good to get those reps.”
Reilly has four goals and 15 points, including two power-play goals and 71 shots, in 29 games with Iowa this season.
With Brodin out, Reilly will get in and probably play consistently at some point.
"You never want to wish an injury on anyone, especially when a guy works hard and is a great person, hate to see that," Reilly said. "But obviously it creates an opportunity. Just try to come here and play my game and I guess, build on what I did in the beginning of the year at least when I was up here and try to bring my game from down there up to here a little bit.
"Obviously, I probably won’t be in as many situations, just come to work every single day and listen to Scott [Stevens] and tonight watch the game and get better and just take some mental notes from it.”
On the Wild's hot streak, Reilly said, "It’s been pretty cool to follow, the talk of the league for sure. Definitely been playing some good hockey, and the atmosphere in the locker room seems to be pretty good.”