The Minnesota Wild continue the California swing Friday with another late game against Bruce Boudreau’s former team, the Anaheim Ducks.
The Wild (13-11-3) once again surrendered more than four goals in their 5-2 loss in Los Angeles earlier this week, thanks in part to some own-goals and former Wild All-Star Marian Gaborik. Meanwhile, the Ducks (12-11-6) come off their first shutout victory of the season, a win that snapped a modest three-game skid after a pair of shootout losses. They’ve won just five of their last 12 games.
The Wild are just 5-6-0 in their last 11 games in Anaheim, with six of those being one-goal games. Their all-time record against the Ducks stands at 27-27-5.
Struggling center Mikko Koivu leads the team with 27 points in 39 games against the Ducks. He could use a couple of points in the form of goals to break his 0-for-18 games streak without a tally. Boudreau made a change in Thursday’s practice to try and spark something with the Finns. Koivu skated with Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle instead of with fellow Finland native Mikael Granlund, who was paired with Nino Niederreiter and Eric Staal. Koivu and Granlund have played together most of the season.
Coyle got his second goal of the season against the Kings, bringing his points streak to five games. He moves from center to right wing with the changes. Wild points leader Staal has six goals and nine assists in his last 15 games.
Devan Dubnyk is 7-2-1 in his last 10 games but gave up four goals last game. He’s 6-7-1 with a .922 save percentage and 2.12 GAA against the Ducks.
The Wild have a familiar face returning from Iowa; the team called up Joel Eriksson Ek this week.
He has a goal and two assists in 20 games with the Wild this season, plus seven points in seven games with Iowa. Michael Russo of The Athletic has speculated that Matt Cullen might be hurt and a possible reason for the Eriksson Ek call-up. The Ducks drafted Cullen back in 1996 in the second round and he scored 200 points with Anaheim in 427 games.
The Ducks have plenty of names on the injured list, including veteran Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler, the team points leader against the Wild. Corey Perry is the team leader in points with 21, and he has 36 points in 41 games when playing Minnesota. No player has reached double-digits in goals yet this season; Rickard Rakell leads the way with eight tallies.
As for special teams, the Wild’s power play is ranked 5th in the league (18-for-80) and 5th on the road (10-for-38). The Ducks home power play is just 8-for-55 good enough for 27th in the NHL.
Boudreau coached in parts of five seasons for the Ducks from 2011-16. He had Wild assistant coach Bob Woods with him for a couple seasons as well, plus Chuck Fletcher worked for the Ducks from 2002-06.
The puck drop is scheduled for a night-owl friendly 9:08 p.m.
- Jared Spurgeon (groin strain), 4 games
- Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), 27 games
66 total man games lost