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The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

Wild, Finishing Road Trip, Sees Big Opportunity

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild



After losing to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime on Friday, Head Coach Mike Yeo said the Wild's game on Sunday against the Ducks could be a similar challenge.

"We keep facing teams that are a little ornery right now, so it will be another good test on Sunday," Yeo said.

That's what the Wild is expecting at Honda Center when it faces the Anaheim Ducks, a winless team (0-3-1), but a team with a lot of size and skill.

"Nobody anticipated them to have the record that they have, and to only have scored one goal so far on the season, obviously that’s a pretty big shock," Yeo said after morning skate on Sunday. "Again, we come into another building where we know what we're up against, but the focus has to be on ourselves."

Having picked up three out of a possible four points on its current road trip, Yeo said the Wild can capitalize on a major opportunity.

"The bottom line is we have a chance here to make it a great road trip," Yeo said. "This will be a tough game, but we should welcome that challenge."

The Wild rebounded in the third period against Los Angeles on Friday and managed to come away with a point. Yeo said fatigue was a factor in the Wild's slower start, but against the Ducks, Minnesota won't be on the second half of a back-to-back.

"We had yesterday off, so we all got our energy back," said defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who will play in his 300th career game on Sunday. "[Anaheim is] a big team, they have some skill as well, but with the speed we have we'll be able to counter that. We just have to stick to our system, and things will work out fine."

One element of the Wild's game that has clicked during its 3-0-1 start is the power play. The Wild has scored a power-play goal in each of its first four games. The last time the Wild had a four-game streak with at least a power-play goal in each was in March 2014.

"It's nice to get the power play going for sure early," Jason Pominville said. "Last year it took us a while, and we got behind the eight ball. We were kind of never able to catch up, so it's nice to get off to a good start, get some early. "

And when playing a desperate team, and one that normally plays physically, those power-play opportunities can sometimes be granted.

"We have to stay within our game and not get carried away with what they're going to bring to us," Pominville said. "A lot of it really depends on what we do, and if we execute, we're a good team, a tough team to contain, and a tough team to play against."

Here are the Wild's projected line:

Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuNino Niederreiter

Zach PariseMikael GranlundJason Pominville

Thomas VanekCharlie CoyleJustin Fontaine

Chris PorterErik HaulaRyan Carter

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Marco ScandellaChristian Folin

Devan Dubnyk



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