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
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
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
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.