Still undefeated in the new year, the Ducks will once again turn to John Gibson as they set their sights on their fourth consecutive victory. They've won three in a row on two other occasions this season, but not four. In a season marked by inconsistency, a win tonight would give the Ducks points in a season-high eight consecutive games and also give them sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.
"It's that time of the year when you need to get points and find ways to win," said Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano. "We've been doing that as of late to climb in the standings and stay in the race. You can't sit back and fall behind. We still have areas to clean up and get better. We haven't seen our top game yet."
Gibson will make his eighth consecutive start and 32nd appearance this season. The 23-year-old won his third consecutive game and 15th of the season two nights ago in a 21-save effort for the Ducks, who defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in overtime.
He'll likely face Devan Dubnyk, who Randy Carlyle says could very well be the best goaltender in the league. Dubnyk leads the NHL in save percentage (.939), goals-against average (1.83) and shutouts (5), and ranks second overall in wins (20). Of the franchise-best 12 consecutive wins the Wild had earlier this season, Dubnyk had 10 of them.
All Ducks were accounted for in the team's pregame skate earlier this morning except captain Ryan Getzlaf, who skated on his own before his teammates took the ice. He'll miss his third consecutive game tonight with a lower-body injury he suffered in the New Year's Day game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Though the team didn't hold any line rushes this morning, you can expect to see the same lineup that has dressed in the previous two games. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The Wild didn't hold a pregame skate with this being the second half of back-to-backs that began yesterday afternoon with a 4-3 overtime loss to the LA Kings at Staples Center. Although the loss snapped the club's seven-game road winning streak, the point earned pushed its road point streak to nine games, the second-longest streak in franchise history.
"They're a team that's playing the type of hockey you need to play in order to win in this league," said Cogliano. "They've been rolling all year and have four lines that play well. It's a good test to see where we're at. We've had some good games and up-and-down games, so hopefully we can put one together tonight to beat a good team."
Video: The Ducks look ahead to their game against Minnesota
Boudreau Returns to Anaheim
Tonight marks Bruce Boudreau's first visit to Anaheim since being hired as head coach of the Wild on May 7. Boudreau spent parts of five season behind the bench for the Ducks, guiding them to a 208-104-40 regular-season record, four consecutive Pacific Division titles and going as far as Game 7 of the 2015 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The 61-year-old Toronto native became the first head coach in NHL history to lead three different clubs to win streaks of at least 10 games (Minnesota, Anaheim, Washington), and will coach the Central Division team at the upcoming All-Star Game at Staples Center. (The coaches for each division's team will be determined by the teams with the highest point percentage in each division following the completion of games on January 10). The Wild's winning percentage of .697 ties the Washington Capitals for the third-best in the NHL and ahead of Chicago's .655.
Potential Line Combinations