SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild are in search of a sixth consecutive journey to the NHL playoffs, which start in April.
However after the opening they’ve dug for themselves within the season’s first three months, the Wild know they will’t take a single night time off. That intense focus quest begins Saturday at house in opposition to the Winnipeg Jets.
If the Wild (23-17-Four) can put behind inconsistent play that has plagued them all through the primary half of the season, then Minnesota would possibly look again to Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Chicago as a turning level.
The Wild trailed 1-Zero after 20 minutes and regarded torpid earlier than coach Bruce Boudreau ripped his crew’s effort. The Wild responded with a uncommon highway win.
“Imagine me, I don’t know what’s popping out of my mouth, I simply know I’m not joyful and one thing’s popping out,” Boudreau mentioned afterward. “We obtained higher, and we obtained a pair targets.”
The Wild are more healthy than they have been at first of 2018, with left winger Zach Parise again within the lineup. Parise missed a lot of the first half of the season as a consequence of again surgical procedure.
However whereas Parise is working his method again as much as full velocity, the Wild misplaced one other vital offensive cog with Nino Niederreiter being dominated out with a decrease physique ailment.
The Wild have back-to-back video games this weekend, with Winnipeg and the Vancouver Canucks coming to Minnesota. Their five-day break comes simply on the proper time when Boudreau hopes the Wild can get wholesome and make a critical push towards the playoffs.
The Jets know all about 2-1 video games in Chicago, having come out on the shedding finish of 1 on Friday night time. Patrick Laine had the lone objective for Winnipeg, which had gained three in a row beforehand and was averaging 5 targets a recreation throughout that stretch.
“They’re a fast crew and so they give us some hassle,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler mentioned of Chicago. “We simply weren’t in a position to make the additional play tonight.”
Just like Minnesota’s recreation in Chicago, the Jets began gradual and got here on late, however this time the hassle wasn’t sufficient to beat the Blackhawks.
“We didn’t get so many good probabilities within the first two (durations) however we simply needed to play arduous within the third and get quite a lot of pucks to the online,” mentioned Laine, whose objective was his team-leading 20th.
The Wild (26-12-7) will probably be in search of their first win versus the Jets this season, after falling of their first three conferences, together with a 7-2 drubbing in Winnipeg the final time they met.
Wheeler, a Minnesota native and a Jet headed to his first All-Star Recreation, has thrived versus his house state crew this season, with 5 factors within the three earlier conferences. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, additionally an All-Star, made his NHL debut in Saint Paul two seasons in the past and has thrived in opposition to the Wild with a 5-1-Zero profession mark versus Minnesota.