Wild vs. Devils preview
Among the best home teams in the NHL, the Minnesota Wild haven't been particularly good there lately.
Opening a three-game homestand against a struggling opponent gives them an opportunity to change that.
The Wild looks to capitalize on a meeting with the depleted New Jersey Devils on Sunday night.
Although Minnesota (22-11-8) is 14-5-2 at home, it is just 2-2-1 in its last five at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild fell 4-3 in overtime to Philadelphia on Thursday but rebounded Saturday with a 2-1 victory at Western Conference-leading Dallas as Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves.
"(Dubnyk) was solid all night," coach Mike Yeo said. "He was composed and he was calm in there all night and obviously made some huge saves."
Dubnyk could be back in net for a ninth straight game. He's started games on back-to-back days three times, losing the second contest each time -- all on the road.
He's 2-2-1 with a 2.80 goals-against average in his last five home games after going 9-3-0 with a 1.85 GAA and four shutouts over his first 13.
Dubnyk made 30 saves in a 6-2 win over New Jersey in his only home matchup March 10.
Backup Darcy Kuemper is also a very good option, going 4-0-2 with a 1.26 GAA over his last six games.
Thomas Vanek scored one of Minnesota's two second-period goals Saturday to raise his total to 13. Vanek hasn't scored in six home games, but did tally a pair against the Devils in March.
Zach Parise had two assists in that meeting, giving him three points in two home games against his former team. He's still searching for his first goal against New Jersey after coming up empty on 12 shots in three overall contests.
Minnesota has been limited to 26 goals during a 5-4-2 stretch and has received virtually no help from a power-play unit that is 1 for 22 in that span.
The Wild are 4-1-1 in their last six games versus New Jersey (20-17-5), winning all three at home with a 14-4 scoring edge.
The Devils, who are opening a four-game road trip, have been outscored 7-2 during a three-game slide, and injuries are posing a major problem.
It's unknown when forward Mike Cammalleri (upper body) and defensemen John Moore and David Schlemko (both lower body) will be back, while right wing Jiri Tlusty (upper body) was put on injured reserve Saturday.
Cammalleri has missed four straight games with Schlemko sitting out two and Moore one.
The loss of Cammalleri is a major blow since he leads New Jersey with 35 points with 20 coming in 19 road games. He has six points in his last six visits to Minnesota.
Cammalleri, Moore and Schlemko were replaced by three minor leaguers in a 4-1 loss to Boston on Friday. The Devils were outshot 31-20, including 14-4 in the third period.
"I'd say this is the first time where we had a little bit of a challenge, where there wasn't a character response," coach John Hynes said.
Hynes, however, has to like what he's seeing from Bobby Farnham. The rugged right wing has three goals over the past six games, matching his total over his first 16 after being claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh.