(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild hope to rebound from only their fourth regulation loss in 24 games when they welcome the New Jersey Devils for Tuesday's clash at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild lost 3-2 to Colorado on Sunday in the opener of a three-game homestand. The regulation defeat dropped Minnesota to 18-4-2 since the middle of January.
Still, the Wild find themselves holding onto the first of two wild card spots in the Western Conference with 79 points, one ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who visit St. Louis on Tuesday. The Los Angeles Kings, the first team outside the playoff picture in the West, are four behind Minnesota and visit Colorado this evening.
Minnesota had won five straight before falling to the Avalanche, who raced out to a 3-0 lead before holding on for the win. Chris Stewart cut the deficit to 3-1 with 5:56 left in the third and Thomas Vanek made it a one-goal game with 19.4 seconds remaining, scoring with Devan Dubnyk pulled in favor of the extra attacker.
Zach Parise centered a pass into traffic in front of the crease with time winding down for Minnesota, but Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda was able to clear the puck away just before the horn sounded.
Dubnyk stopped 18 shots in the loss and fell to 17-3-1 since coming over in a January trade with Arizona. He expects to start for a 25th straight game tonight and will face the Devils for only the second time in his career.
Dubnyk's lone appearance against the Devils came with Edmonton in an overtime loss on Nov. 12, 2010.
The Wild, who will cap their homestand Friday versus Anaheim, are 17-11-5 as the host this season.
Despite winning three of four and seven of its last 10 games, New Jersey has seen its playoff chances dwindle down to almost nothing. The Devils enter Tuesday 10 points behind Boston for the last playoff spot in the East and only have 16 games remaining in their schedule.
The Devils recorded a 5-2 win Sunday against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. The victory came after the club celebrated the 20th anniversary of its 1995 Stanley Cup title in a pre-game ceremony.
Adam Henrique scored twice to help the Devils damage Philadelphia's fading playoff chances.
Stephen Gionta posted a goal and an assist while Jacob Josefson and Eric Gelinas also scored for the Devils. Steve Bernier had three assists and backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid allowed two goals on 27 shots.
"We have some great guys in this room who lead by example and we all feed off that energy," said Henrique. "We're on a bit of a roll here and wanna keep it going."
Cory Schneider is expected to be back in net for the Devils tonight. He owns an 8-5-0 record and 2.17 goals against average in 14 lifetime appearances versus the Wild.
New Jersey is just 11-18-2 as the visiting team this season and is kicking off a three-game road trip tonight. The Devils will visit Colorado on Thursday before capping the swing Friday in Arizona.