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Wild at Coyotes preview

Minnesota, Arizona each try to gain in Western wild-card race

by Alan Robinson / Correspondent

WILD (36-33-9) at COYOTES (37-33-8)



The Game

The Minnesota Wild will try to pass the Arizona Coyotes in the Western Conference wild-card race when the two teams play at Gila River Arena on Sunday.

Minnesota, which won its last game after going 2-6-1 in its previous nine games, is one point behind the Coyotes, who trail the Colorado Avalanche by three points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Arizona has lost six of its past seven games (1-3-3) but has won nine of its past 11 home games (9-1-1).


Players to watch

Wild forward Eric Staal has scored two goals in his past three games and has 14 goals in 22 games against the Coyotes.

Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored two goals in Arizona's 3-2 shootout loss to the Avalanche on Friday and has five goals in his past nine games.


They said it

"We've got to focus on [this] game because [this] game is going to probably be our toughest of the year. Because I think whoever loses is probably, for sure, out. That's my guess." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

"We're still in this thing. We've got to do our job before we worry about anybody else. We need a win, and that's how we're going to approach it." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet


Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Matt Read

Jordan Greenway -- Luke Kunin -- Joel Eriksson Ek

Marcus Foligno -- Eric Fehr -- J.T. Brown

Kevin Fiala -- Victor Rask -- Ryan Donato

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Brad Hunt

Nick Seeler -- Greg Pateryn

Devan Dubnyk

Alex Stalock

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Pontus Aberg, Mat Robson

Injured: Mikko Koivu (knee), Matt Dumba (upper body), Zach Parise (lower body)


Coyotes projected lineup

Richard Panik -- Brad Richardson -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Lawson Crouse -- Derek Stepan -- Josh Archibald

Alex Galchenyuk -- Nick Cousins -- Clayton Keller

Michael Grabner -- Christian Dvorak -- Conor Garland

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Niklas Hjalmarsson -- Jordan Oesterle

Alex Goligoski -- Kevin Connauton

Darcy Kuemper

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Jakob Chychrun, Mario Kempe, Ilya Lyubushkin, Christian Fischer

Injured: Antti Raanta (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body)


Stat pack

Donato has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past seven games. … Minnesota is 13-3-3 in its past 19 games against Arizona. … The Coyotes have scored nine goals in their past seven games. … Kuemper is 14-6-3 with a 1.90 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and three shutouts in his past 23 starts.

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