SUNRISE, Fla. – This has already been a fruitful road trip for the Wild, as it’s gone 1-0-1, but the team has a chance to make it even better Friday when it wraps up the trek against the Panthers.
The night before, the Wild had arguably its best performance of the season – blanking the NHL-leading Lightning 3-0 at Amalie Arena. Winger Jason Zucker recorded his second career natural hat trick, while goalie Devan Dubnyk secured his second career shutout after making 25 saves.
“We had some tremendous energy,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Look for Dubnyk to be back in net, and he’s been steady in his career against the Panthers – going 9-1 with a .948 save percentage and 1.38 goals-against average in 10 games.
In his last seven starts, Dubnyk is 6-0-1 with a .943 save percentage and 1.69 goals-against average.
But the rest of the Wild’s lineup could change. That’s because winger Luke Kunin suffered an upper-body injury Thursday after absorbing an open-ice hit from center Cedric Paquette. Kunin struggled to get up and skate to the bench; Boudreau expected to learn more on Kunin’s status after the game.
The Wild did not host a morning skate Friday.
Winger Matt Read has been with the team recently on an emergency basis, and he could be ushered into action. Read had a goal Saturday in the 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
If Kunin can’t suit up, it’s possible rookie Jordan Greenway plays at center.
Boudreau will address the media approximately two hours before puck drop.
Ryan Donato-Eric Staal-Jason Zucker
Zach Parise-Luke Kunin-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Pontus Aberg
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler-Brad Hunt
299: Career points for defenseman Ryan Suter with the Wild.
99: Points for winger Kevin Fiala in his career.
8-2-2: The Wild’s record in its last 12 road games.
6-4-2: How the Wild has fared in the second half of a back-to-back this season.
10: Points for center Eric Staal during a season-high eight-game point streak.
About the Panthers:
Florida has fallen 11 points back of the playoff pace in the Eastern Conference and is coming off a 4-3 loss to the Bruins Thursday in Boston. The Bruins scored twice in the final 37 seconds of play to rally against the Panthers. It was Florida’s sixth straight setback. Captain Aleksander Barkov leads the team in points with 70. Winger Mike Hoffman’s 30 goals are best on the Panthers.