SAINT PAUL, MN -- The Minnesota Wild have pulled themselves into the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.
Now the challenge is to stay there.
The Colorado Avalanche are right on their heels, sitting just one point behind the Wild with a game in hand. The two teams will meet in a pivotal match-up on Saturday but first, Minnesota will take on a Calgary Flames squad who have points in seven of their last 10 games.
"I’m not even worrying about Saturday," head coach John Torchetti told MinnesotaWild.com on Wednesday. "I’m just worrying about the first period tomorrow, and being better in our battles, and better on our dump-ins, and our chip-ins, and our forecheck.
"Just on our breakout and wall play. That’s the number one thing that we talked about today. That’s what we worked on. Just come in with a good strong first 20 minutes."
The Wild may get a key piece of their forward corps back on Thursday. Jason Pominville, who has missed the last seven games with a lower body injury, skated with the team on Wednesday morning and will be a game-time decision.
"Pominville looked good today," Torchetti told MinnesotaWild.com. "We’ll see how he feels tomorrow after morning skate, then make a judgment call after that."
Pominville skated on a line with Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula and will likely be play with them if he is deemed eligible to skate in Thursday's clash.
In 67 games this year, the 33-year-old has 11 goals and 33 points.
Thursday's game will be the second contest in a three-game season series between the Wild and Flames. Minnesota took the first game by a score of 5-3 back on Feb. 17 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Pominville was the first star in that game, netting a goal and an assist, while Haula and Mikko Koivu also had a goal and a helper in the win. Deryk Engelland, David Jones, and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary.
The Flames and Wild will square off for the final game of their respective regular season's on Apr. 9 at the Xcel Energy Center.
BREAKING DOWN THE WILD
Power Play: 18.9 percent overall (44 goals scored in 233 chances with the man advantage), 18.1 percent at home (21 goals scored in 116 chances with the man advantage)
Penalty Kill: 77.8 percent overall (40 goals allowed in 180 times being short-handed), 82 percent at home (14 goals allowed in 78 times being short-handed)
2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 1-0-0
2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 3-0-0
Notable Injuries: Ryan Carter (upper body), Jason Pominville (lower body)
Who's HOT: Devan Dubnyk
The Wild have been getting stellar goaltending from Dubnyk since they acquired him in January of 2015 and if they land in the playoffs this spring, it will once again be in large part due to his performance.
In 59 appearances, Dubnyk has a 29-22-6 record with a 2.36 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He has strung together three consecutive wins and is coming off a first-star performance against the LA Kings, stopping 38 of the 39 shots they sent at him in Tuesday's 2-1 win.
Honourable Mention: Mikko Koivu
The Wild's captain continues to lead his team in all regards, sitting first in scoring among all Minnesota skaters with 17 goals and 50 points through 74 games.
In his last four games, Koivu has two goals and four points. He scored the game-winner in Tuesday's 2-1 win over the LA Kings, beating Jonathan Quick blocker side at the 3:13 mark of the third period, which was his team-leading 10th power play goal of the year.
Who's NOT: Jarret Stoll
The pivot, who was taken off waivers on Dec. 15, 2015, has held off the scoresheet since Feb. 21 and his last goal came on Jan. 23.
In 44 games with the Wild, Stoll has two goals and five points.