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  • 12/19 PREGAME: Minnesota Wild vs. Ottawa Senators

    Heather Rule

    After a pair of deflating losses, the Minnesota Wild need a pick-me-up victory. They’d also like a goal to come off the stick of one of their forwards, too.


    The Wild (17-13-3) swept the Senators (11-13-7) in the season series last year and they’re 6-9-4 all-time against them (3-4-2 in Ottawa). However, the Wild have points in six of their last nine games against the Senators.


    Ottawa comes off a shutout victory over Montreal and has won two in a row after a five-game losing streak. They’ve won just three games in the month of December and are 3-10-2 since Nov. 16.


    Defenseman Matt Dumba scored two goals against the Senators last season. He’s had the hot hand for the Wild lately, scoring the team’s last three goals over the past two games in losses to Edmonton and Chicago. Dumba is tied for fifth in the NHL with six goals this season; he has eight points in the last 11 games.


    Forward Marcus Foligno is expected to be back on the third line after sitting out as a healthy scratch two of the past three games. He’ll be on the left wing with Matt Cullen centering him and Tyler Ennis. Foligno was traded to the Wild in the offseason after scoring a career-high 13 goals last season with Buffalo. This season, he has three goals and six assists in 30 games.


    Team points leader Eric Staal leads the Wild against the Senators with 40 points in 45 career games. Staal has five points in the last five games. Goaltender Alex Stalock is 2-1-1 with a 2.48 GAA and .910 save percentage versus Ottawa.


    The Wild are tied with Montreal for the top ranking in the NHL in blocked shots with 537 of them in 33 games. Jonas Brodin leads the Wild with 70 blocked shots.


    The penalty kill has been a bright spot for the Wild recently. They’re a perfect 19 for 19 over the past four games. They have the third-best penalty kill in the league for the season at 84.49 percent. The Wild’s power play has been held scoreless the past four games, going 0 for 9. It’s just 1 for 21 over the past 10 games with only three games where they had three-plus power-play chances.


    The Senators rank near the bottom of the league on their power play and penalty kill.


    Individually for the Senators, Mark Stone leads the team in goals and points (14-14—28), followed by Mike Hoffman with 22 points and defenseman Erik Karlsson with one goal and a team-leading 19 assists.


    Mikko Koivu watch: 24 games without a goal and 11 games without a point.


    Injury list:

    Devan Dubnyk (lower body), 3 games

    Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), 33 games

    Total man games lost: 80



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