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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Philadelphia

Wild opens crucial four-game homestand on Tuesday against the Flyers

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe /
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (27-24-5) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (25-24-7)

Puck drop: 7:09 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North; FOX Sports app

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

ST. PAUL -- The Wild will begin a crucial four-game homestand on Tuesday night when the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers come to Xcel Energy Center.

Typically one of the League's toughest places to play, Minnesota has just a 13-10-4 record on home ice this season. It's 10 regulation losses are already four more than it had all of last season.

Video: Bruce Boudreau preps for homestand

"I don't understand it. Ever since I've been here, playing at home has been a huge advantage for us. For whatever reason, we haven't been able to do that this year," said Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. "It's a huge opportunity to try to get that going. I think if we get some momentum at home, it'll really snowball for us. We need to start that now."

There is no better time for the Wild to get things going on home ice. 

The St. Louis Blues have tied Minnesota in the standings and currently hold the top wild card spot in the Western Conference based on its two games in hand. 

Vancouver, Chicago, Colorado and Los Angeles are each within four points. 

On the other side, the Wild and Blues are each within two points of third-place Dallas.

There's no question, players inside the dressing room know what the stakes of the homestand are. With the number of games dwindling and the schedule becoming increasingly difficult into early March, the time to put together some wins is now.

"Our urgency has been here for an awful long time. We just haven't gotten it done on a consistent basis. We can look like world beaters one night but the next night we just don't look good enough," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "So it's one of those times where … for the last 26 games you've got to play to win. Like not that we don't play to win, but you've got to play playoff hockey every night."

Philadelphia will be playing the second half of back-to-back games following a 4-1 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. 

Since defeating the Wild 7-4 in Philadelphia on Jan. 14, the Flyers have posted a record of 9-1-1.

Claude Giroux leads the Flyers offensively with 43 assists and 59 points. Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek each have 48 points with Couturier leading the club with 23 goals.

Goaltender Carter Hart started against the Penguins on Monday, which could indicate Anthony Stolarz will get the nod on Tuesday. Stolarz has started nine games and is 3-3-3 with a 3.26 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.

Mauer power

The Wild will honor Joe Mauer at Tuesday's game, which is presented by Treasure Island Resort and Casino. Mauer announced his retirement on Nov. 15 after a 15-year career with the Minnesota Twins that saw him win an unprecedented three American League batting titles as a catcher, the 2009 A.L. MVP Award and earn six All-Star selections. One of the greatest players in Twins history, the St. Paul native finished his career with a .306 batting average and 2,123 hits in 1,858 games.

Mauer will take part in a ceremonial puck drop, and family members will announce Let's Play Hockey and make a This Is Our Ice contribution from Lake Como before the game.

Wild players will wear custom Mauer No. 7 jerseys during pre-game warmups. The jerseys will be autographed and auctioned to benefit Crescent Cove and the Minnesota Wild Foundation. The auction will close March 1. Joe and his wife, Maddie, are Crescent Cove Ambassadors, helping spread awareness about the organization in the community. Crescent Cove offers care and support to children and young adults with a shortened life expectancy, and their families who love them.

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Series notes

All-Time Wild Record: 8-14-2 (4-4-2 at Xcel Energy Center, 4-10-0 at Philadelphia)

2018-19: The Wild fell in the first season meeting against the Flyers, 7-4, at Wells Fargo Center (1/14)…C Eric Staal led Minnesota with two assists…C Joel Eriksson Ek, RW Marcus Foligno, D Ryan Suter and LW Jason Zucker each scored for the team…G Devan Dubnyk started the contest, stopping 15-of-20 shots…G Alex Stalock made five saves in relief…C Nolan Patrick led the Flyers with four points (2-2=4)…C Scott Laughton (0-3=3) and LW James van Riemsdyk (3-0=3) recorded three points apiece…C Claude Giroux (0-2=2), D Radko Gudas (0-2=2) and RW Wayne Simmonds (2-0=2) registered two points each…G Carter Hart stopped 34-of-38 shots.

WILD LEADERS: Staal leads the Wild with 43 points (18-25=43) in 53 games vs. the Flyers…LW Zach Parise has 40 points (20-20=40) in 46 contests…C Eric Fehr owns 14 points (5-9=14) in 30 matches.

WILD GOALIES: Dubnyk is 4-6-1 with a 2.45 GAA, a .923 SV% and three shutouts in 11 career starts against Philadelphia…Stalock is 2-0-0 with a 2.65 GAA and a .881 SV% in four games (two starts).

FLYERS LEADERS: RW Jakub Voracek leads the Flyers with 18 points (3-15=18) in 22 contests vs. the Wild…RW Wayne Simmonds has 17 points (7-10=17) in 24 games…Giroux owns eight points (3- 5=8) in 14 matches.

FLYERS GOALIES: G Brian Elliott is 9-4-0 with a 1.91 GAA, a .921 SV% and two shutouts in 15 games (13 starts) against Minnesota…G Michal Neuvirth is 1-1-0 with a 2.16 GAA and a .900 SV% in three career starts…Hart earned the win in his first career action, making 34 saves (1/14)…G Anthony Stolarz has not faced the Wild.

Did you know?

Since being recalled from Iowa on Feb. 4, Luke Kunin has tallied five points (1-4=5), eight shots and a plus-5 rating in four games, including a career-best three-game point streak (2/5-2/9).

Kunin skated a career-high 18:18 and tied his career best with two assists at BUF (2/5).

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