Maple Leafs-Wild Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Wild have earned at least one point in nine of 10 games since suffering consecutive regulation losses for the only time this season.

The first of those defeats came to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Riding a five-game point streak, the Wild look for a fourth straight home victory while trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

After dropping its first three games that went to shootouts, including Thursday's 3-2 loss at Washington, Minnesota (10-4-4) finally broke through in that situation with a 3-2 victory at Carolina on Saturday.

"It wasn't the prettiest win, but we found a way," said Jason Pominville, who scored his team-high 11th goal. "I think that's usually the sign of a good team. We go home now and try to keep it rolling."

Pominville also had one of three shootout goals for the Wild, who are 4-0-1 this month and 7-1-2 since dropping consecutive games at Toronto and Tampa Bay on Oct. 15 and 17.

Minnesota has won seven of eight at home, allowing no more than one goal in six of them, but has been outscored 11-2 during a three-game slide to the Maple Leafs (11-6-0).

The Wild allowed two power-play goals during that 4-1 loss at Toronto last month. Pominville also scored one, giving the longtime Buffalo winger seven goals and seven assists in his last 12 contests against the Maple Leafs.

Toronto is looking to get its offense back on track, having scored two goals in the last three games and losing two of them. That follows a three-game win streak as the Leafs had four goals in each victory.

Coach Randy Carlyle would like to see a little more patience with the puck as opposed to playing a faster, wide-open game, even though the latter provided an end-to-end scoring rush which led to the team's only goal in a 3-1 loss at Boston on Saturday.

"Well I think every coach would like their team to play that way, but I don't know if you can specifically say that you expect them to do that for 60 minutes," Carlyle told the NHL's official website. "But that's more the type of hockey that we are going to ask this hockey club to play, a little bit more of a cycle game, a little bit more of a puck-possession game instead of the up and down trading chances.

"I think that is the most important thing for us to get an understanding of how we have to play to be effective both at home and on the road."

Joffrey Lupul got the tying goal in the second period Saturday, but the Bruins scored twice in the third in the teams' first meeting since the Maple Leafs blew a 4-1 third-period lead in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series.

"We battled hard, but I thought we just ran out of gas in the third period," Carlyle said.

Toronto's Phil Kessel has posted one of his team-leading 10 goals in the last four games after recording seven in the previous four. He has two goals and two assists in his last four versus Minnesota.

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