The Minnesota Wild are headed for home, where they've thrived recently behind a staunch defense. That could pose a problem for the Anaheim Ducks, who haven't gotten much on offense lately aside from Corey Perry.
The Wild seek their third consecutive home win Wednesday night when they meet the Ducks, who hope other players can step up in a bid to help the team avoid a winless three-game road trip.
After alternating losses and wins in its first seven games at the Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota (8-6-2) allowed a total of one goal in regulation victories over San Jose and Calgary earlier this month before embarking on a four-game road trip.
The Wild salvaged a split of the swing with a 4-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Cal Clutterbuck and Antti Miettinen scored power-play goals in the first period to help Minnesota take a 3-1 lead, and Martin Havlat finished with three assists.
"It's easier when you get a good start. You can play your own game. You don't have to take too many chances," said Niklas Backstrom, who stopped 37 shots, and improved to 7-4-2 with a 1.98 goals-against average.
Backstrom, who notched the home wins over the Sharks and Flames, is 4-1-0 with a 2.14 GAA and one shutout in his career versus Anaheim in St. Paul.
The Wild's Brent Burns will finish serving a two-game suspension for careless use of a stick. Burns leads all Minnesota defensemen with five goals, including a team-high four with the man advantage.
The club, though, went 6 for 13 with the extra man on the road trip. Minnesota enters this game with the top-ranked power-play unit in the NHL, converting 29.4 percent (20 of 68) of its chances.
Heading into its trip, Anaheim (10-7-2) had won a season-high six straight before falling 3-2 in overtime to defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago on Sunday. The Ducks followed that with a 2-1 loss in Dallas on Tuesday.
Don't blame Perry, though. He tied the score at 1 with a power-play goal midway thorough the second period, and has tallied all three goals on the trip, giving him a team-high nine this season.
"We're just not really sharp offensively. We got to think 'shoot more,' be a little more selfish," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said.
Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu each have seven goals this season, but have virtually disappeared away from southern California. Getzlaf hasn't had a goal in his last three road games, Selanne and Ryan in their previous four, and Koivu in his last eight dating to Oct. 11.
That quartet totaled 43 goals on the road in 2009-10.
Jonas Hiller has failed to win over the last two games, and has lost his last two starts in Minnesota. Combined with the Ducks playing their third game in four nights, backup Curtis McElhinney could make his first career appearance against the Wild.
McElhinney, who beat the New York Islanders 1-0 on Nov. 10, is 2-2-0 with a 3.03 GAA in four starts this season.
Anaheim and Minnesota split four games last season with each team winning twice at home.
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