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Wild look to feel the 'power' down the stretch

Visit Senators; have scored on man-advantage in franchise-record 13 straight on road

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (32-27-10) at SENATORS (32-30-8)

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET; FS-N, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV

OTTAWA - The Minnesota Wild are battling consistency and the Colorado Avalanche for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Wild have been streaky heading into their game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday. Since Feb. 23, they have lost three games in a row, won four and then ended a two-game losing streak with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

One thing that has been helping the Wild, particularly on the road, has been the power play. It has scored in a franchise record 13 straight road games, the longest road power-play streak in the NHL since the Carolina Hurricanes scored in 17 straight road games during the 2005-06 season.

The Minnesota power play is 10-for-23 in the Wild's past eight road games. Minnesota is 6-2 in those games.

"It's two units," Wild coach John Torchetti said. "That's the biggest thing about the confidence. Moving forward, there is no real 1A or 1B. We have two great units that can go out there. 

"I like that we have two units that want to fight for that ice time."

The Wild are 9-5-0 since Torchetti replaced Mike Yeo as coach and hold the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. They are tied with Avalanche with 74 points, but the Wild have one game in hand.

"[Yeo] is a great coach and with the group we have in this room, it should have never come to that," said goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who will start against the Senators. "We should have been able to gather ourselves together as a group and figure things out. Unfortunately we weren't able to.

 "Torch has done an incredible job coming into a tough spot. He's really preaching details. Nobody was questioning we have a great team in here. With his focus on some details that we got back to, we got to playing the way we should have been playing."

Dubnyk is 5-1-0 with a 1.97 goals against average and .928 save percentage in his past six games.

The Senators are seven points out of the second wild card position in the Eastern Conference with 12 games to play.

Goaltender Craig Anderson is coming off a 29-save shutout against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

"We did a lot of good things," Anderson said. "We need to continue doing things the way we need to do them and win two points.

"We had a mindset of winning that game [against the Maple Leafs] 1-0 and we were rewarded with four goals. We gave up a limited number of opportunities against. It's a good sign. Play with pride and anything can happen."

Zack Smith has scored in five straight games and has nine goals in his past 12 games playing on a line with center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and wing Mark Stone.

Senators coach Dave Cameron said he has been encouraged with his team's play lately, particularly since the Senators traded for defenseman Dion Phaneuf on Feb. 9.

The Senators are 7-7-2 since the nine-player trade.

"For the most part," Cameron said, "when I break our games down since we got Dion Phaneuf in Detroit, I've liked a lot more in our style of play than I dislike.

"This guy comes in, he's a real good player, he's really fired up, he's engaging, he says good morning to you, he'll throw something at you. He won't let you mope, so automatically your energy level comes up. That's what this game is about. Execution with good energy. That's invaluable. We don't have enough of those guys on this team."

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Thomas Vanek - Mikael Granlund - Jordan Schroeder

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Carter - Jarret Stoll - David Jones

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Jonas Brodin - Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Mike Reilly, Chris Porter, Jason Zucker.

Injured: Jason Pominville (lower body).

SENATORS

Zack Smith - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Ryan Dzingel - Scott Gomez - Alex Chiasson

Nick Paul - Curtis Lazar - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci

Michael Kostka - Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Matt Puempel, Patrick Wiercioch.

Injured: Mark Borowiecki (knee), Kyle Turris (ankle), Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion).

Status report: MacArthur has not been cleared to return from his concussion. He continues to practice with the team and said he hopes to return to play the final four games of the regular season.

Who's hot: Smith has six goals and nine points in his past eight games. … Stone has two goals and seven points in his past five games.

 

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