Plenty of games remain in the Wild’s win-or-go-home stretch, a seven-test trek coach Bruce Boudreau feels is critical to staying in the hunt for a playoff berth.
But so far, the Wild has been up for the challenge.
After eking out an overtime win Tuesday against the Blackhawks, the Wild won its second game of the week in a much cleaner fashion – upending the Canucks 4-2 on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center to go into Friday’s Central Division clash with the Stars on a wave of momentum.
“We had a day off [Wednesday], and that kind of helped us recharge a little bit and we had nothing to save it for,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “We are really happy with our starts, especially at home to get the fans into it.”
Following its trip to Dallas, the Wild will have a day off Saturday and then it’ll quickly reengage with the Central Division by hosting the Avalanche on Sunday.
A busy week like that isn’t easy, but it is an opportunity to quickly build up points and that’s precisely what the Wild needs.
With the win Thursday, it moved four back of the second wildcard seed in the Western Conference.
The team still has one or two games at-hand on most of the teams it’s chasing, but it’ll burn one up Friday since the clubs directly above it in the standings will be idle.
And that’s the glorious chance that’s looming.
If the Wild were to win again Friday, it would be only two points away from a playoff spot.
Here’s what else to watch for ahead of Friday’s game.
-Despite going 2-for-2 this week, backup Alex Stalock is unlikely to play.
Coach Bruce Boudreau said it “looks like” the Wild will go with Devan Dubnyk in net, the Wild’s first game vs. the Stars since it throttled Dallas 7-0 at home last month.
“We’ve gone that road before, and we haven’t had the success we’d like,” Boudreau said. “We know we’re going into a hornet’s nest, a team that’s been off for [two] days and would likely want to exact some revenge against us. But these are the games where you dig deep, and you hopefully come up big.”
-Defenseman Carson Soucy (illness) will not go to Dallas.
The Wild has an extra defender on hand in Matt Bartkowski, whom the team recalled from the minors on Thursday.
-The power play is enjoying a resurgence.
After going 2-for-4 against the Canucks, the unit has racked up 10 goals over the last eight games.