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Wild at Coyotes preview

Minnesota goes for season-high sixth straight win; Arizona 6-2-1 in past nine games

by Craig Morgan / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (36-20-7) at COYOTES (18-34-10)

9 p.m. ET; FS-A, FS-N, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Minnesota Wild will try for their sixth straight win when they face the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Thursday.

A six-game winning streak would be the Wild's longest since they won 12 in a row from Dec. 4-29, 2016. 

The Wild are third in the Central Division, four points behind the second-place Winnipeg Jets and three ahead of the Dallas Stars, who hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They have scored four goals or more in four of their past five games.

The Coyotes are 6-2-1 in their past nine games but trail the Anaheim Ducks by 28 points for the second wild card into the playoffs from the West. They have scored two goals or fewer in four straight games.

 

Players to watch

Wild center Eric Staal, the NHL's First Star for February, has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in a five-game point streak. He has 21 points (13 goals, eight assists) in his past 13 games.

Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta is 3-1-0 with a 1.76 goals-against average, .950 save percentage and two shutouts in his past four starts.

 

They said it

"This a great league with a lot of great players. To be recognized in that respect is nice for sure." -- Wild center Eric Staal

"He plays a real north style and he doesn't take the puck back much. When you play teams like that, and especially a guy like Staal, they tend to go north and you've really got to manage the puck." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet

 

Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Mikko Koivu -- Charlie Coyle

Nino Niederreiter -- Matt Cullen -- Tyler Ennis

Marcus Foligno -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Daniel Winnik

Ryan Suter -- Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin -- Jared Spurgeon

Nick Seeler -- Nate Prosser

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Gustav Olofsson, Luke Kunin

Injured: None

 

Coyotes projected lineup

Brendan Perlini -- Derek Stepan -- Clayton Keller

Max Domi -- Christian Dvorak -- Christian Fischer

Jordan Martinook -- Brad Richardson -- Nick Cousins

Richard Panik -- Freddie Hamilton -- Josh Archibald

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Jakob Chychrun -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Kevin Connauton -- Alex Goligoski

Antti Raanta

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Zac Rinaldo, Luke Schenn

Injured: None

 

Status report

Domi skated after missing practice Tuesday with an undisclosed illness. He is expected to play. … The Coyotes had an optional skate Thursday. … Panik (lower body) practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and is also expected to play. … Prosser (face) skated and is expected to play.

 

Stat pack

Minnesota's top line of Zucker, Staal and Granlund has 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in its past three games. … Stepan has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games.

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