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Preview: Ducks @ Wild

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Minnesota begins a tough stretch to close out the season, as they host Anaheim tonight.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Minnesota Wild play host to the best team in the West, the Anaheim Ducks. In fact, the Wild will play the best team(s) in the West tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday. Minnesota will be in St. Louis tomorrow and then visit Nashville on Tuesday. All three of those teams are tied for most points in the Western Conference with 91. Oooof. With just 15 games remaining in the regular season, and everyone below the Wild (LA, San Jose and Winnipeg) breathing down their necks, there is no time to slouch. We all know Minnesota has been on fire (19-4-2) in the 2nd half/since the Dubnyk trade, but they have a chance to show the West even more. No other team has a tougher schedule to close out their regular season than Minnesota. With three teams creeping in behind them, the Wild are just 5 points back on Chicago. If Minnesota was able to pass Chicago, they would secure a top-6 spot in the West.

Devan Dubnyk starts for the Wild tonight for the 27th straight game. Hell, he may even start tomorrow against St. Louis too. Doobie is 3-3-1 with a 2.49 GAA and a .919 SV% in eight games (seven starts) against Anaheim in his career. John Gibson will be the man for Anaheim tonight. Gibson has started 16 games for the Ducks this year and has not faced the Wild in his career. The Wild are 19-9-5 at home, including eight wins in its last ten home games. Minnesota has suffered five straight one-goal losses at Xcel Energy Center against Anaheim (0-4-1, 10/27/13-12/5/14). If the playoffs were to start today, the Wild would face the Ducks.

Same lineup for the Wild tonight. That will happen when you score six goals. Minnesota set a franchise record with 14 different players earning at least one point in Tuesdays win. Marco Scandella is still a week-away (at least) from returning but Ryan Carter should be able to practice next week! Jason Zucker's collarbone is improving but there's no need to rush him with the depth the Wild currently have. Puck drop is at 7pm, with a gamethread at 6:45. Go WILD!!!