Devils-Wild Preview

With Jason Pominville playing at a high level, the Minnesota

Wild are putting together a solid run during this home-heavy

portion of their schedule.

Now they’ll try to keep it going by picking up their fifth win

in six games Sunday night when they host a New Jersey Devils team

hoping to regroup following a disheartening loss.

The surging Wild (7-4-3) have found a bit of a comfort zone

during a stretch that includes six of seven games in St. Paul. They

improved to 4-1 over this span with Friday’s 4-3 victory over

Montreal.

Minnesota’s only defeat in that stretch came against Chicago on

Monday – two days after beating the defending Stanley Cup champions

5-3 at the United Center.

Pominville scored twice in that victory and had two more against

the Canadiens, including the go-ahead tally with 5:28 remaining.

The winger had four goals in 10 games after coming over in a trade

from Buffalo last April, but now ranks among the NHL leaders with

nine goals in 14 games.

”Pucks are finding me and I’m finding ways to put them in,”

Pominville said. ”But I think it’s just kind of finally getting

rewarded for all the work we put in. I think as a line we went

through a little bit of a tough stretch and weren’t able to

generate much in the goal column and now we’re starting to chip in,

in that way.”

Pominville had three goals in his last three games against New

Jersey while with the Sabres.

Teammate Zach Parise, second on the Wild with six goals, faces

his former team for the first time. Parise had 194 goals and 410

points for New Jersey from 2005-06 to 2011-12.

“I’ll still definitely be nervous for it,” Parise told the

team’s official website. “But I think since we didn’t play them

last year and one year passed, it will be a little different.”

The Devils (3-6-4) look to get back on track after having their

two-game winning streak snapped in a 1-0 home loss to Philadelphia

on Saturday. The Metropolitan-worst Flyers limited the Devils to 14

shots just 24 hours after losing 7-0 to Washington.

”We just didn’t play very well,” New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr

said. ”We didn’t play good enough to win the game, and we didn’t

have to play extra good (to win).”

The Devils certainly haven’t played well offensively, ranking

near the bottom of the league with 2.0 goals per game and totaling

36 shots in their last two games.

Making matters worse, forwards Patrik Elias (upper body) and

Travis Zajac (ankle) will not be with the team after missing

Saturday’s contest.

Martin Brodeur said he will not play against the Wild after

stopping 36 of 38 shots in his last two starts. Cory Schneider is

expected to get the nod after missing three games with a lower-body

injury.

Minnesota’s Josh Harding had 28 saves Friday after sitting out

two games due to a strained hamstring. He owns a league-best 1.22

GAA, though coach Mike Yeo hasn’t revealed whether he or Niklas

Backstrom will start this contest.

The Wild have won both meetings since the 2010-11 season.