The Minnesota Wild remain in the Northwest Division cellar—but the longest winning streak in franchise history helped them move back into the Western Conference playoff picture.
Minnesota seeks its fifth straight home victory when it takes on the Detroit Red Wings.
Although they’re last in the division, the Wild are within striking distance of the final West playoff spot thanks to a team-record five-game winning streak. That run ended in a 4-3 loss to Columbus on Friday.
The Wild had a two-goal lead in the third period, but allowed the final three goals in a span of just over 11 minutes.
The game-winner, awarded to Sergei Fedorov, deflected off defenseman Nick Schultz’s skate and past Wild goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who lost his third straight decision and fell to 5-15-1 on the season.
“We have to wake up tomorrow and start over again,” coach Jacques Lemaire said of the heartbreaking loss.
Minnesota will look to get back to its tough defensive ways against a Red Wings club that has struggled offensively in its last four games. The Red Wings are 1-2-1 over that span and have scored two goals or less in every contest. Each of the four games was decided by one goal.
Detroit has scored a power-play goal in 14 straight games and leads the league in power-play efficiency at 24.7 percent. The Red Wings will test their red-hot power play against Minnesota’s top-ranked penalty killing unit, which has killed off 89.2 percent of short-handed situations.
In Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to Dallas, Tomas Holmstrom scored with the man advantage at 2:53 of the third period to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead, but Jere Lehtinen beat Manny Legace for the equalizer with just over five minutes left in regulation.
“It comes down to a skills competition and their skill is better than mine,” said Legace, who finished with 19 saves in his first shootout defeat of the season.
Wings leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk was held without a point for the third straight game, the first time that has happened this season.
The Wild are 2-3-1 with two ties at home and 5-9-1 with three ties overall in the series with the Red Wings. The teams split the first two meetings this season, both at Joe Louis Arena.