The hottest team in the Western Conference will take on the club with the NHL's longest current losing streak, as the streaking Minnesota Wild host the ice-cold Phoenix Coyotes in Wednesday's tilt at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild have won six straight games, giving Minnesota the NHL's second- longest current winning streak behind Pittsburgh's 13-game run. It's also the team's longest run since a seven-game winning streak from Nov. 28-Dec. 10 of last season.
The hot streak has helped Minnesota make a run at the Northwest Division title, which has been won by the Vancouver Canucks in each of the past four seasons. The Wild enter Wednesday trailing the idle Canucks by two points.
Minnesota picked up its sixth straight victory in Dallas on Monday and the 7-4 decision was the Wild's eighth win in nine games.
Kyle Brodziak's short-handed goal in the third period proved to be the winner for the Wild. Minnesota led 4-3 heading into the final 20 minutes before letting Dallas tie the contest at the 7:02 mark. However, Brodziak gave Minnesota the lead for good five minutes later, while Dany Heatley and Pierre- Marc Bouchard also scored to account for the final margin.
Zach Parise scored twice and added an assist while Matt Cullen, Mikko Koivu, Brodziak and Bouchard each posted a goal and an assist for the Wild. Niklas Backstrom stopped 22 shots in the win.
"We've been playing some good hockey," Backstrom said of the streak. "It's a lot of hard work."
Just two of Minnesota's win on its current streak have come on home ice, where the club is 11-3-1 this season. Beginning with Wednesday's tilt, the Wild are playing three of their next four on home ice.
While Minnesota is on its longest winning streak of the season, the Coyotes have lost six straight for the first time since an 0-6-0 run from Jan. 27-Feb. 7, 2009.
Phoenix is 0-5-1 during its current slide and the last four setbacks have come in regulation, including Monday's close loss to visiting Detroit. The Coyotes led 2-1 after the first period, but the Red Wings scored a goal in each of the last two periods to earn a 3-2 victory.
Martin Hanzal and Rob Klinkhammer each scored for the Coyotes, who last won on March 12 against Los Angeles. Jason LaBarbera gave up all three goals on 35 shots in the loss.
"All I can say is that we're finding ways to lose games right now," said Klinkhammer. "We're working hard, but that can only get you so far in this league. Not getting bounces, taking penalties at the wrong time ... it's just not going our way right now."
Phoenix has fallen to 13th in the Western Conference and is four points out of a playoff spot.
The Coyotes also have dropped five straight on the road and are beginning a three-game swing on Wednesday. They are just 3-8-3 as the visiting team this season.
The Wild and Coyotes have split a pair of meetings in Phoenix this season and this marks the first encounter in St. Paul. The Coyotes have won nine of the last 14 matchups in this series overall and five of the last six in Minnesota.