Preview: Red Wings battle Minnesota Wild
The Detroit Red Wings' three-game winning streak has catapulted them into the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Red Wings look to strengthen their chances for a 23rd consecutive postseason appearance when they attempt to complete a home-and-home sweep of the visiting Minnesota Wild on Sunday. Gustav Nyquist netted his 16th tally in 22 games and extended his goal-scoring streak to four contests with the tiebreaker early in the third period of Saturday's 3-2 win.
The Wild are clinging to the West's first wild-card spot after falling for the seventh time in nine games (2-3-4). "We're not completely happy or satisfied ... but what I hope is we don't try to turn this into a big story of 'Oh no, here we go again,'" Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. Captain Mikko Koivu's goal on Saturday was his first in 14 contests, but it also extended his point streak versus Detroit to six games.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
ABOUT THE WILD (36-24-11): Clayton Stoner exited Saturday's contest after aggravating a lower-body injury and did not make the trip to Detroit. The team is expected to recall fellow defenseman Jonathon Blum from Iowa of the American Hockey League to help Minnesota's depleted blue line. Ryan Suter certainly is doing his best to help, notching an assist on Saturday for his fourth point in five games.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (33-24-13): After scoring just twice on its previous 25 power-play opportunities, Detroit doubled its goal total as David Legwand and defenseman Brendan Smith tallied against Minnesota. Legwand has adjusted quite nicely since joining his hometown team, collecting two goals and five assists in nine games. The veteran, however, was $5,000 lighter in the wallet after being fined by the league for butt-ending Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin on Thursday.
1. Detroit, which is even in points with Washington but has two games in hand, is riding a 10-game home point streak (8-0-2).
2. Minnesota C Charlie Coyle converted a penalty shot Saturday for his first point since March 8.
3. The Wild posted a 4-2 win in Detroit on March 20, 2013, ending the Red Wings' 13-game point streak versus Minnesota at Joe Louis Arena (10-0-3).