(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild hope to avoid a season-high sixth loss in a row on Tuesday night when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Wild fell to 0-4-1 in their past five games with a 4-1 setback to the hosting Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Minnesota didn't get on the scoreboard until Matt Cooke's goal with 4:52 left in the game.
Niklas Backstrom surrendered all four goals on 35 shots for Minnesota, which has fallen into last place in the Central Division while going 2-7-4 in its past 13 games.
"There's some things that are concerning," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. "The clock is ticking here."
The Wild have matched their longest losing streak of the season, though they did manage to pick up three points during an 0-2-3 slide from Dec. 16-27. They last lost six in a row from Dec. 19-31 of last season, all in regulation.
The Penguins are coming off Saturday's 2-1 road victory over the Montreal Canadiens, with Sidney Crosby finally picking up a goal with 1:19 to go in overtime after seeing some earlier chances turned aside.
Crosby had two separate chances to win it earlier as the clock ticked down to two minutes remaining in the extra session. Habs goaltender Carey Price flashed his right pad on the first chance and seconds later, Crosby actually beat Price through the pads from in close, but Montreal's Alexei Emelin came to the rescue and swept the puck out of danger.
The hosts were hit with a bench minor penalty with 1:51 left in OT, and Evgeni Malkin slipped a pass into the right circle for Crosby's successful one-timer which ended the contest.
"We had to start moving the puck around on the power play. It's hurt us in games for sure. We can change momentum with it and win games like we did tonight," Crosby said. "But we have to get better on the advantage. In a 1-1 game, obviously I'd love to score. I should have buried those earlier chances, but I got the one that mattered."
Malkin provided the other tally for the Penguins, who snapped a two-game skid and remained a point behind the first-place Islanders in the Metropolitan Division. They moved to 3-4-2 in their past nine games as Marc-Andre Fleury came up with 27 saves.
Though the Penguins have won three of their last four versus the Wild, Fleury is winless against them in five starts. He has lost all five games with a 3.76 goals against average and .853 save percentage.
Backup Thomas Greiss made 33 saves when the Penguins beat a hosting Wild club 4-1 on Nov. 4.
Darcy Kuemper, currently out with an undisclosed injury, yielded three goals on 21 shots for the Wild.
Backstrom figures to start for Minnesota tonight and is 3-2-0 lifetime versus the Pens with a 2.77 GAA and .912 save percentage.
Pittsburgh snapped a six-game series home losing streak to the Wild with a 5-2 win on Dec. 19, 2013.