To secure a perfect road trip, the Minnesota Wild will have to win in one of the NHL’s toughest away venues in Boston on Tuesday.
The Bruins are 15-5-0 at TD Garden this season, one of just three teams with 15 home wins in 2018-19. The Bruins’ five total defeats (both regulation and overtime losses) at home are also the second-fewest of any team, behind only the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning’s 17-4-0 mark.
The Wild, however, are 8-3-0 all-time at Boston. Minnesota has reeled off victories in the first three games of its four-game road trip, including a 1-0 shutout of the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.
Devan Dubnyk made his 13th consecutive start in that game, and the quick turnaround for the Wild (21-17-3, 45 points) means that Alex Stalock will be between the pipes in Boston. While Dubnyk has been hot lately, Stalock has also put up some solid numbers in backup duty this season (2.60 goals-against average in 10 games spanning 508 minutes).
Stalock’s last start was on Dec. 6, plus he played 51 minutes the next night after Dubnyk received a quick hook in a 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Over Minnesota’s last 12 games, however, Stalock has received just 32:58 minutes of ice time.
“I’ve gotten into some games, which you don’t really want to do in my job,” Stalock recently told Sarah McLellan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “You want your guy to be in the whole game, but you gotta go in some nights. That’s a good way to get work and get back to game speed. … Obviously, getting the start is always nice.”
Stalock & Co. will face a big challenge in a Bruins team that has won 10 of its last 14 games, including the last four in a row.
“I think we’re getting production from the whole group right now which is great. … When you have that throughout the whole lineup it makes it tough to play against,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand told the media. “Also, having essentially our whole team back, we’re finally able to get a good look at our group. We’ve always had that depth, but with guys out consistently, it’s been tough to kind of keep it steady. It’s great to have everyone back now and we’re just kind of rolling from that.”
Tuukka Rask will start for Boston (24-14-4, 52 points) against the Wild, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has announced. It will be Rask’s fifth start in seven games, as the Bruins continue to juggle the goaltending platoon of Rask and Jaroslav Halak. Rask is on a three-game winning streak, with a 1.63 GAA and .949 save percentage in that stretch.
Charlie McAvoy will miss his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury, as Cassidy ruled the defenseman out against the Wild. McAvoy did skate prior to Monday’s practice, and Cassidy said McAvoy could potentially return on Thursday (when the Bruins host the Washington Capitals) or Saturday (at Toronto).
Eric Fehr is questionable for the Wild after suffering an upper-body injury on Monday. Fehr didn’t return to the game after a first-period hit from Montreal’s Kenny Agostino sent him head-first into the boards.
The Wild are 4-2-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
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