Preview: NY Islanders at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota
The Minnesota Wild hit rock bottom after suffering their eighth straight loss last week, resulting in the firing of coach Mike Yeo. Interim coach John Torchetti entered the picture and the Wild promptly ignited their offense and won a season-high four consecutive contests heading into Tuesday’s home tilt with the New York Islanders.
Thirteen different players have found the net as Minnesota has outscored its foes by a 21-8 margin, highlighted by a 6-1 rout of Central Division-rival Chicago during a Stadium Series game on Sunday. “It’s up to (the players), it’s not me,” Torchetti told reporters. “… I want to make sure they keep pushing that and having that attitude and then we want to keep attacking that net whatever chance we get.” New York has also been on a roll, improving to 5-1-1 in its last seven by winning the opener of its season-high seven-game road trip with a 1-0 triumph at New Jersey on Friday. Casey Cizikas scored early in the first period to increase his point total to five (two goals, three assists) in his last five games.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus2 (New York), FSN North (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (31-19-7): Defenseman Ryan Pulock, 21, is in line to make his NHL debut on Tuesday after being recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. The 15th overall pick of the 2013 draft, Pulock was summoned after fellow blue-liner Calvin de Haan (lower body) was placed on injured reserve. “We will leave (de Haan) home to start just to get some rehab,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday, “and then as we move forward, hopefully he’ll be able to join us at some point during this trip.”
ABOUT THE WILD (27-22-10): Erik Haula, who was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week on Monday, recorded his first career three-point performance versus the Blackhawks and has two goals and five assists under Torchetti. Haula’s linemates have also flourished, as veteran Jason Pominville scored three goals and set up three others in the last three tilts while Nino Niederreiter collected two tallies and three assists in the last four games. Niederreiter had one of each against his former team on Feb. 2, but the Islanders skated away with a 5-3 victory.
1. New York G Jaroslav Halak has lost six of eight career decisions (2-2-4) versus Minnesota despite recording a 1.95 goals-against average.
2. The Wild have scored five power-play goals in the last four contests and 10 in as many contests this month.
3. Islanders D Nick Leddy has one goal and four assists during his five-game point streak.
PREDICTION: Islanders 4, Wild 2