The Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Tuesday night, going 5-for-5 this season against the team that has eliminated them in the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
The Colorado Avalanche lost to the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night as well, meaning the Wild regained a five-point lead over the Avs with five games to play. They are also within four points of the Nashville Predators for the first wild card spot.
“It’s fun right now, but we know what’s happened in the postseason, it’s a different animal,” said Erik Haula, who added another goal and assist to his career-best nine-game point streak, the longest active streak in the NHL and the longest on the Wild this season. “We’re just trying to get in right now, trying to play as well as possible and take that into the playoffs.”
Jarret Stoll, who went 12-for-13 in the faceoff circle, kicked off the scoring with a goal 2:37 into the first period. Marian Hossa tied it up halfway through the first, scoring short-handed on a five-minute power play that the Wild didn’t muster a shot on in the final 4:27 of.
Duncan Keith received a match penalty in addition to the five-minute major for slashing Charlie Coyle across the face after a clean, hard check. Penalized for intent to injure, Coyle’s nose was bleeding afterwards and Keith will likely receive a fine and suspension for it.
Spurgeon, Haula and Nino Niederreiter (empty net) all scored in the third period to seal the game. Devan Dubnyk only had to make 18 saves to improve to a league-best 11-1-1 since Feb. 28.
“Obviously, you get some confidence from it,” Spurgeon told the Pioneer Press. “But at the same time, the playoffs are a different animal. But when you have that confidence going into the playoffs if you do happen to play in them, it’s huge for the team. We’re having fun right now, and we just have to keep it going.”[Star Tribune, Pioneer Press]