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Wild look to extend point streak, welcome Ducks to town

Mar 8, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber (7) celebrates with the bench after his goal in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild will try to increase their point streak to six games when they face the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

The Wild are coming off a 4-1 win at home against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night. Minnesota improved to 4-0-1 in its past five games, and it has lost only one game in regulation in March.

“We’ve got to keep building,” Wild defenseman Brock Faber said. “This isn’t enough, and there have been stretches where we’ve won three, four games in a row, had a good 10 games in a row, and then fell back.

“Obviously, we can’t afford to fall back at this time of year. (We’re) trying to stay as consistent as we can.”

As the Wild look to stay hot, Anaheim is hoping to break out of a cold spell.

The Ducks have lost three games in a row and four of their past five. They have surrendered at least six goals in each of their past three losses, including a 7-2 setback on the road against the Chicago Blackhawks in their most recent game Tuesday night.

Brett Leason scored both of Anaheim’s goals. Ducks goaltender John Gibson gave up six goals on 26 shots, and backup Lukas Dostal allowed one goal on five shots in relief duty.

Leason said he and his teammates needed to do a better job clearing the puck out of their defensive zone.

“I think they were just good on the forecheck,” Leason said after the Blackhawks’ seven-goal performance. “We just couldn’t get a lot of pucks out. They were quick to transition off our turnovers.

The Ducks could go back to Gibson (13-22-2, 3.31 GAA, .893 save percentage) to try to turn the page on Tuesday’s mess. Otherwise, they could give a start to Dostal (10-17-1, 3.62, .899) in an effort to snap their skid.

Gibson has faced the Wild 18 times in his career. He is 7-6-4 with a 2.51 GAA and a .925 save percentage.

Dostal has matched up against Minnesota three times in his young career. He is 1-1-0 with a 2.62 GAA and a .934 save percentage.

The Wild could turn to either Filip Gustavsson or Marc-Andre Fleury in net. Gustavsson is 17-15-4 with a 3.26 GAA and an .894 save percentage, and Fleury is 15-11-3 with a 2.79 GAA and a .902 save percentage.

Gustavsson is 2-1-0 with a 2.62 GAA and a .911 save percentage in three career games against Anaheim. Fleury has faced the Ducks 27 times in his illustrious career, and he has posted a 22-5-0 record with a 1.89 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

Wild forward Joel Eriksson might not play against the Ducks after he was injured during a collision with Arizona forward Nick Bjugstad on Tuesday. If he cannot play, it could open the door for Wild prospect Marat Khusnutdinov to make his NHL debut.

“You want to make sure that you give him the best chance when he gets in,” Wild coach John Hynes said. “… We’ll certainly talk to him and see how he feels about things, and he’ll get an opportunity here soon.”

–Field Level Media

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