The Minnesota Wild and Ottawa Senators have been piling up wins of late. Both teams will try to continue their respective hot stretches Tuesday night when they meet at the Xcel Energy Center.
One day after falling 4-2 to Colorado, the Wild (25-18-5) bounced back with a 4-0 victory at Nashville on Sunday. Former Senators star Dany Heatley notched a goal and an assist and Darcy Kuemper stopped 23 shots to record his first career shutout.
"That was an unbelievable response by our guys," coach Mike Yeo, whose team improved to 5-1-0 in 2014, told the NHL's official website. "Winning is ultimately what we're looking for, but how we played the game from start to finish, I mean I have to give big kudos to our leadership group."
The Wild have outscored opponents 18-6 in their last five wins.
"A simple game is how we're successful," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "We were able to get the pucks in and get the forechecks going. We got a lot of pucks to the net. Nothing fancy and that's how we have to play games right now."
Ottawa (20-18-8), meanwhile, has gone 5-0-1 over its last six games to post its longest point streak of the season. The Senators' only loss over that stretch also came against the Avalanche, 4-3 in overtime Wednesday, but they regrouped Saturday with a 2-1 shootout win at Nashville.
Kyle Turris scored his career best-tying 12th goal and Craig Anderson turned away 32 shots.
"I thought Craig was again, a very consistent goaltender," coach Paul MacLean said. "We're slowly starting to build some momentum. Tonight I thought was a good effort by the total team and the whole team found a way to win the game."
Anderson, 6-0-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average over his last seven starts, has helped the Senators keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Ottawa sits just outside the postseason picture.
"It's too early, I think, for that," captain Jason Spezza said. "But we do look at the standings. You don't want to fall behind. We know we're in a lump of a group of teams, but with the games-in-hand and the not-games-in-hand I think it's too early to be looking at where you sit."
Ottawa had taken six straight from Minnesota before falling 4-3 on Nov. 20. Wild captain Mikko Koivu and Heatley combined for two goals and three assists in that game.
Heatley has stepped up with Koivu (broken ankle) and fellow forward Zach Parise (foot) sidelined, delivering back-to-back two-point performances while playing alongside Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker.
"I think it's also the first time we've had a couple of guys we've played steady together for more than a game or two," Heatley said. "Like I said, that chemistry's a big deal and it's going good right now."
Coyle also has four points in the last two games.
Niklas Backstrom is 0-1-1 in three meetings against the Senators, but he hasn't faced them since 2011. Minnesota could turn back to Kuemper, who has won back-to-back starts behind a 0.48 GAA since getting recalled from the AHL for the fifth time this season Jan. 2.
"It's a pretty special feeling right now," he said after blanking the Predators. "Obviously, shutouts are always fun and to get one at the highest level is a pretty cool experience."
Anderson, who stopped just 21 shots against the Wild in November, is 3-7-2 with a 3.08 GAA lifetime versus Minnesota.
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