Stalock anchoring playoff-hungry Wild
A lot has changed since general manager Bill Guerin traded away Jason Zucker and fired former head coach Bruce Boudreau in mid-February.
By winning six of their last eight games, the Minnesota Wild have surged up the standings and now sit one point out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.
Perhaps the biggest reason for this stretch has been forward Kevin Fiala, who’s tallied multiple points in five straight games and has scored 12 goals for the Wild since Feb. 4.
But let’s not forget the goaltending.
The Wild have played nine games under interim head coach Dean Evason. South St. Paul native Alex Stalock has started seven of them. Of those seven games, Stalock has allowed one or zero goals in four contests.
Dating back to Feb. 1, only two netminders have posted a lower goals-against average than Stalock (.190) – New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood (1.48) and Boston’s Tuukka Rask (1.85). The Wild goaltender is 8-2-1 over that stretch.
Stalock’s best performance of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for the Wild. He stopped a season-high 37 of 38 shots on Tuesday night as Minnesota edged Nashville 3-1 and jumped the Predators in the wild-card standings.
For Stalock, it’s been all about composure.
“When you’re calm, you’re in control of your rebounds,” the goaltender told reporter Kevin Gorg on Tuesday night. “I think that’s a huge thing in the NHL.”
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) March 4, 2020
Stalock will get his fifth consecutive start when the Wild face off against his former team, the San Jose Sharks, on the road Thursday night.
Minnesota has dropped its last five games against the Sharks. The Wild’s last win over San Jose was a 6-3 victory back on April 7, 2018.
Stalock and Minnesota will attempt to rewrite that script when the puck drops at 9:30 p.m. Tune in to “Wild Live” at 9 p.m. on FOX Sports North.
Statistics courtesy Sportradar, hockey-reference.com