Lemaire coached the Devils from 1993-98 and compiled a 199-122-57 record. He led New Jersey to its first Stanley Cup in 1995 and two Atlantic Division titles in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
With the Wild, Lemaire is 78-92-33-15 and has them in playoff contention in the Western Conference. Minnesota has surpassed its win total in its first three seasons and comes into Sunday’s contest seven points behind the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Northwest Division.
As a reward for the Wild’s improvement, Lemaire signed a contract extension on Thursday. On Friday, Minnesota rallied from an early two-goal deficit to post a 4-3 home victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Lemaire is 0-2-1 in three meetings against his former team. The Wild dropped both meetings in 2000-01, but rallied for a 2-2 tie in Minnesota on January 26, 2002.
New Jersey picked up its first regulation loss since January 4 and had its streak of 14 straight games with at least one point end with a 4-2 home loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday.
Patrik Elias and Steve Guolla tallied for the Devils, who had not lost at home since January 1.
New Jersey is trying to avoid consecutive regulation losses for the first time this season. Goaltender Martin Brodeur needs one win to become the first goaltender in NHL history with eight straight 30-win seasons.