A complete, 60-minute effort is what the Wild has been seeking this entire season, but the focus on consistency has only seemed to increase as the team returns to action Friday against the Ducks in Anaheim after falling apart in the third period Tuesday en route to a 5-2 loss to the Kings.
“That’s what we aim to do,” forward Charlie Coyle said. “Every game’s not perfect, and you have lapses and other teams have pushes. It’s how you respond to that, how you fight back and push back. We need to see that. What’s what we aim to do.”
Not only is how the Wild reacts after Tuesday’s late-game collapse going to be telling, but the result against the Ducks could end up determining the success of the trip. A win would give it the chance to seal four out of a possible six points going into the finale Sunday against the Sharks, while a loss would likely guarantee a missed opportunity.
And although the Ducks aren’t at full strength with key players like forwards Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf on the mend in addition to defenseman Hampus Lindholm, they shouldn’t be overlooked.
“It seems the more guys they get out of the lineup, the harder they work,” said coach Bruce Boudreau, who manned the Ducks’ bench from 2011 to 2016. “They’re always in the game. The two times they’ve had bad efforts, the next game they come out and beat the best teams in the league. They’re a good, hard-working, well-coached team that’s going to give you problems because they have a lot of character.”
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Tyler Ennis-Joel Eriksson Ek-Chris Stewart
Marcus Foligno-Daniel Winnik-Zack Mitchell
Ryan Suter- Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Ryan Murphy
Mike Reilly-Nate Prosser
2-1: The Wild’s record against the Ducks last season.
5: Consecutive games in which forward Charlie Coyle has registered a point.
3: Assists for forward Daniel Winnik in his last five games.
.922: Save percentage for the Ducks, which is tied for second in the NHL.
5: Points for Ducks center Adam Henrique in his last four games.
About the Ducks:
The Ducks are in the midst of a three-game homestand after a 1-2-3 road trip. They’re coming off a 3-0 win over the Senators Wednesday. Overall, it’s been an up-and-down start to the season for Anaheim. The team has won three in a row just once, and it’s gone winless in four straight games twice. Recently, the team jostled its lineup by acquiring Henrique and center Joseph Blandisi and a 2018 third-round pick from the Devils in exchange for defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick.