Wild-Red Wings Preview
After ending a lengthy drought in one building, the Minnesota Wild now go into a place where they have not won in regulation in seven seasons.
The Wild can extend their season-high win streak to four Wednesday night when they take on Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings.
Minnesota (16-10-2) ended an 11-game slide in Vancouver with Monday's 3-1 victory behind goals by Charlie Coyle and Matt Cullen in the third period.
The Wild have not won in regulation at Detroit since Jan. 3, 2006, going 3-10-0 with two victories in overtime and one in a shootout. Minnesota fell 5-3 in its lone visit this season Jan. 25.
"It's only one game and now we'll move on to Detroit and that's another tough building to play in," center Mikko Koivu said.
Datsyuk has five points in two meetings with Minnesota this season, with Detroit losing 3-2 on the road Feb. 17. The winger can extend his point streak to five games - which would match a season high - after his three-assist performance Saturday in a 5-2 road victory over the Canucks.
While Datsyuk is surging for Detroit, the Red Wings will try to slow down Zach Parise. Parise has three points against Detroit this year and seven in a 5-1-0 stretch for the Wild.
Red Wings rookie defenseman Brian Lashoff knows he faces a challenge.
"He's very aggressive on the puck and he never gives up and battles in the offensive zone for sure," Lashoff told the Red Wings' official website. "He's one of the tougher players that I've had to play against."
Lashoff has made an immediate impact for Detroit, and an even greater one has been made by fellow rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin for Minnesota. The 19-year-old Brodin is fourth on the Wild in ice time and has scored goals in two of his last three games.
"Everybody knows about (Ryan) Suter, but Brodin is a player that's going to be known well in the league over time," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
Niklas Backstrom has posted a 2.14 goals-against average in his last six starts. He's 1-4-2 with a 3.17 GAA in eight career starts against Detroit.
"We're not a playoff team yet," Backstrom said. "We want to be a playoff team. We can't look too far ahead. We can't keep watching in the standings what other teams are doing. For us, it's just to play the right way night in and night out."
Jimmy Howard is 4-0-1 with a 1.36 GAA in his last five starts, and 5-0-2 with a 1.98 GAA in seven at home against Minnesota.
The Wild have scored on the power play in nine of their last 11 games, including four straight on the road. Detroit's penalty kill is at 88.2 percent over its last 16 games after it was 73.3 in the first 13.
Minnesota defenseman Tom Gilbert missed Monday's contest with an undisclosed injury. He had a goal and an assist at Detroit in January.