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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Anaheim

Ducks visit St. Paul for Valentine's Day clash

by Devin Lowe and Dan Myers / Wild.com
The essentials

Who: Anaheim Ducks (29-18-10, 54 points, second place, Pacific Division) at Minnesota Wild (37-12-6, 80 points, first place, Central Division)

Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North PLUS; FOX Sports Go; Wild Watch Bar locations; NHL.TV

Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter


At the rink 

The Minnesota Wild will go for the season sweep of the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday when the teams play for the final time during the regular campaign at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota has never swept a season series against the Anaheim, winning three of four meetings on three different occasions (2006, 2008, 2011). This year is the first time Minnesota has posted at least a .500 record against the Ducks since 2012, when it went 2-2.

"They play big and heavy and it's important for us to stick to what we're doing and not get involved in the after-the-whistle, the scrums and the physical stuff that they like to do," said Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. "We've had a couple of real good games against these guys so far; they've been intense and exciting so that's what we should expect tonight."

Minnesota defeated Anaheim 5-3 the last time these teams played on Jan. 21 in St. Paul, a game the Ducks led 3-2 until late in the third period. For 50 minutes, Anaheim was able to dictate the play and keep the game at their pace.

With just over six minutes left, Erik Haula tied the score as Minnesota scored three times over a span of 1 minute, 59 seconds to secure a victory.

It wasn't until the final seven minutes that the Wild was finally able to play the game at its pace, and the results bore that out.

Tuesday, it will be up to Minnesota to try to get to its game early on and take advantage of a Ducks team playing the final game of a six-game road trip that began nearly two weeks ago.

"We can sit there and say we want to dictate this because of our speed, but that's a nullified game by them being physical," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "You see the way the game is being played and we get some adrenaline going, if we score one ... and when we score one, especially at home, we have a tendency to come back and get another one [quick]."

Video: Bruce Boudreau Pregame vs. Anaheim

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Jason Zucker

Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Alex Tuch

Zach Parise - Charlie Coyle - Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart - Erik Haula - Zack Mitchell

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Christian Folin

Gustav Olofsson - Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

DUCKS

Antoine Vermette - Ryan Getzlaf - Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Logan Shaw

Joseph Cramarossa - Nate Thompson - Ondrej Kase

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm - Brandon Montour

Shea Theadore - Josh Manson

John Gibson

Jonathan Bernier


The opponent

The Anaheim Ducks are in the midst of a losing stretch with five straight games away from home against Eastern Conference opponents, going 1-3-1 in those contests. The Ducks' lone win came against the Sabres in Buffalo, but Anaheim was bested by League-best Washington by a score of 6-4 on Feb. 11. Ryan Kesler leads the Ducks with 44 points in 57 games, and Ryan Getzlaf is close behind with 42 points in 50 contests. John Gibson has been Anaheim's go-to goaltender; in 44 games, he's earned a .918 save percentage and a goals-against average of 2.36.


Connections

• Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was head coach of the Ducks for parts of five seasons between 2011-16, compiling a record of 208-104-40, and helped Anaheim to four straight Pacific Division titles.

• Wild forward Chris Stewart played in 56 games with the Ducks last season, scoring eight goals and 20 points.

• Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner was a third-round pick of the Wild in 2004 and had 31 points with Minnesota between 2009-14. 


Bringing the energy

So far this season, the Wild is 19-6-1 at Xcel Energy Center, including an eight-game home win streak (Nov. 23-Dec. 31) that tied a franchise record for the longest win streak on home ice. The Wild has outscored its opponents by a margin of 92-54 on home ice this season. Tuesday's meeting with the Ducks is the Wild's fourth contest of an eight-game homestand, the longest in franchise history (Feb. 8-27). 

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