Solid play at home has paced the Minnesota Wild's strong start.
Riding a seven-game point streak, the Wild look to win six straight at home for the first time in two seasons Sunday night against a Winnipeg Jets team trying for a fifth consecutive victory overall.
Charlie Coyle scored the tiebreaker with 8:22 remaining in regulation as Minnesota (12-4-4) overcame blowing a two-goal lead to beat Florida 3-2 on Friday.
The Wild have earned at least one point in 11 of 12 games and are 6-0-1 since a 5-1 home loss to Chicago on Oct. 28. That remains Minnesota's only regulation defeat at the Xcel Energy Center, where it's 9-1-2 and has won five in a row.
"I think we're just playing good as a team, every line is going right now," Coyle said.
Thanks to the play of goalie Josh Harding, the Wild are in position to win six straight in St. Paul for the first time since Oct. 29-Nov. 23, 2011. Harding made 22 saves Friday to improve to 9-0-0 with a 1.17 goals-against average at home. He's 11-2-2 overall, and his 1.26 GAA is the lowest in the NHL.
Harding has helped Minnesota earn its most points (28) in franchise history through 20 games.
"If you're going to have success, you're going to need to win games in different ways," coach Mike Yeo said.
Each of the Wild's last four games overall have been decided by one goal. Prior to Friday, they won two straight in a shootout after falling 3-2 the same way at Washington on Nov. 7.
"We're pulling out wins but you can still learn a lot from them," Coyle said.
Coyle has recorded all four of his points (two goals, two assists) in five games since missing 12 of 13 with a lower-body injury.
Teammate Jason Pominville added one of each against the Panthers, and has eight goals with four assists in his last nine contests. Mikko Koivu has six assists in his last five.
Harding faced only 15 shots as Minnesota snapped an 0-3-1 slide to Winnipeg with a 2-1 home victory Oct. 10. Bryan Little scored on the power play for the Jets (10-9-2).
Winnipeg went 2 for 53 over the next 16 games with the man advantage before defenseman and Minnesota native Dustin Byfuglien scored two power-play goals during Friday's 3-2 home shootout victory over Philadelphia.
The Jets rank near the bottom of the NHL converting 10.7 percent of their power-play chances, but hope Friday's effort will be the start of good things to come.
"For me, it was a matter of time before these things started seeing the back of the net," coach Claude Noel said. "Eventually they were going to go. You just had to stay with it and not let too much frustration to get into your game."
Riding its most successful stretch of the season, Winnipeg has won its last three contests in a shootout. Two of its three victories in eight road games this season have come the same way.
"We'll take shootouts right now," captain Andrew Ladd said. "Obviously, you'd like to win it in regulation."
Ladd is second on the team with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists), but recorded none in his last three versus Minnesota.
Little has one more point than Ladd, and three goals with two assists in six career games against the Wild.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- The Wild
- Minnesota Wild
- Charlie Coyle
- Josh Harding