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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Philadelphia

Wild takes on Flyers with chance to clinch postseason berth

by Devin Lowe and Dan Myers /

Wild Pregame vs. Philadelphia

Wild Pregame vs. Philadelphia

Bruce Boudreau, Devan Dubnyk and Erik Haula preview the matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers at Xcel Energy Center

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The essentials

Who: Philadelphia Flyers (33-31-8, 74 points, seventh place, Metropolitan Division) at Minnesota Wild (44-22-6, 94 points, second place, Central Division)

Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North; FOX Sports Go; Wild Watch Bar locations; NHL.TV; Twitter live stream (out of market only)

Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

At the rink

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk will make his 16th consecutive appearance -- and seventh straight start -- when the Minnesota Wild hosts the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.

Dubnyk, coming off a 21-save performance in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, was strong his last time out, with his lone mistake coming after a miscommunication behind his own net allowed Patrick Marleau a chance to retrieve the puck and wrap it into the goal.

San Jose's only other goal came off a shot from the point that deflected in off the backside of a Wild defenseman.

The win was Dubnyk's 37th of the season, which set a new career high and tied Niklas Backstrom's single-season franchise record.

It was an important outing for Dubnyk, who has been one of the best goaltenders in the NHL this season. Despite a rough patch over the past couple of weeks, Dubnyk is still among the League leaders in every major goaltending category.

With Minnesota's recent five-game losing streak, Dubnyk said it's possible he may have been pressing a bit too much.

"I felt better," Dubnyk said of his game on Tuesday. "I felt fine during the stretch; there were just times where maybe there was a little lack of control. You're just trying a little too hard. Obviously, we all want to win and we all want to play well in here. When you're not getting the results, It's easy to squeeze or try a little bit too hard, then you're not in control, and you'll start to see a goal go in that once in a while ... will go through you because you're not in position."

Minnesota's defensive effort in front of him was also improved, as the Sharks mustered just four shots in the first period. It allowed Dubnyk a chance to settle in and track the puck cleanly.

The result was a confident goaltender, one the team fed off protecting a one-goal third-period lead.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Pregame vs. Philadelphia Flyers

"I think they feed off a goaltender's confidence for the whole game," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "He was sharp. He was out front; he wasn't deep in the net. He was doing a lot of great things the last game."

Minnesota will clinch a spot in the postseason for a fifth consecutive year with a victory or a regulation loss by the Los Angeles Kings, who host the Winnipeg Jets. 

Here are the projected lineups:


Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle

Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - Jason Zucker

Nino Niederreiter - Martin Hanzal - Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart - Erik Haula - Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Gustav Olofsson

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper


Jordan Weal - Valtteri Filppula - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Sean Couturier - Dale Weise

Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Travis Konecny

Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald

Nick Schultz - Shayne Gostisbehere

Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

The opponent

After winning 10 straight contests in November and December, the Flyers then lost seven of their next eight and have been inconsistent since. Philadelphia has gone 4-5-1 in the month of March, and the Flyers began a four-game road trip on Tuesday with a 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. After visiting the Wild, they'll face a tough back-to-back against the Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, both of whom have already clinched playoff spots. Jakub Voracek's 55 points in 72 games sit atop the scoresheet for Philadelphia, and 2017 All-Star Wayne Simmonds has netted a team-high 29 goals in 72 games. Goaltender Steve Mason has started 48 of the Flyers' contests and earned a save percentage of .905.


• Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz played 10 seasons with the Wild after being drafted in the second round of the 2000 NHL Draft. Schultz, the second-ever draft pick by Minnesota, ranks second in franchise history in games played (743). 

• Flyers forward Chris VandeVelde is a Moorhead native and played four seasons at the University of North Dakota. 

• Flyers forward Matt Read played four seasons for Bemidji State University. 

One-two punch

Minnesota's magic number to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth is two points. Any combination of Wild points gained or points lost by Los Angeles will send the Wild to its fifth straight postseason, and Los Angeles is also in action on Thursday, hosting the Winnipeg Jets. Minnesota is one of seven teams to qualify for the postseason in each of the last four seasons; the others are Anaheim, Chicago, Detroit, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Detroit is the lone club not currently in playoff position.

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