PREVIEW: Minnesota Wild ride nine-game home win streak into game vs. Anaheim Ducks

Mar 14, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Carson Soucy (21) protects the puck from Arizona Coyotes right wing Conor Garland (83) at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild will try for their 10th straight home win when they play the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday evening in St. Paul, Minn.

The Wild set a franchise record with their ninth consecutive victory at Xcel Energy Center on Monday, beating the Ducks 2-1 behind 24 saves from Cam Talbot.

Related: NHL trade rumors – Latest buzz for 2021 free agency

“We’ve stressed on how we want to be dominant here,” Wild defenseman Carson Soucy said. “With nine in a row, we want to keep that going, keep those games, keep building off of them.”

The Ducks have gone 18 straight games without a win in regulation. They’ve been held to one goal or less in five of the past seven games.

Anaheim could not practice Tuesday after one player, who wasn’t identified, was placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocol.

Unlike in most of their recent losses, the Ducks had a chance to tie the score Monday in the waning minutes, especially when the Wild were called for too many men on the ice with 2:14 left in regulation.

The Ducks pulled Miller for a 6-on-4 for the final minute but could not get the puck past Talbot.

“Overall, I think we played a really solid game (Monday) to build off of,” Ducks defenseman Josh Manson said. “We’ve got to stay positive after this one. There’s some games you want to learn from, and maybe you hang your head a little bit, but this is one I think we have to stay up and go forward to the next one.”

The Ducks have started 40-year-old goalie Ryan Miller the past five games because John Gibson has a lower-body injury.

Anthony Stolarz could be in line for his second start of the season. He started Saturday against the visiting Arizona Coyotes but was replaced by Miller after allowing two goals on 14 shots in the Ducks’ 5-1 loss.

Whoever starts in goal for the Ducks, they’ll have another difficult matchup against a Wild team that’s won both high- and low-scoring battles.

Related: NHL power rankings – Panthers roar to No. 1 ahead of Stanley Cup playoffs

“I think we’re going through a bit of a slump with energy, but we’re finding ways to win, which is important,” Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter said. “Every game can’t be [where] you score six goals and everybody is smiling. Every once in a while, you’ve got to grind them out like we did (Monday).”

Getting another game at home against Anaheim on Wednesday and another on Thursday against St. Louis will be a boost for the Wild before they head out for a four-game trip next week.

“It’s nice being home, sleeping in your own bed, being around family,” said Nick Bjugstad, who scored the go-ahead goal in the third period of the Wild’s 2-1 win on Monday. “Maybe that’s it. I couldn’t tell you. It’s fun playing here. I’ve always loved the Xcel Energy Center since I was a young kid.”

Minnesota forward Marcus Johansson returned on Monday after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury. He had one shot on goal and one takeaway in 13:37.

–Field Level Media