Wild seek to rebound versus Panthers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild hope to get back on track with their seventh win in eight games when they host the Florida Panthers in Thursday's battle at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild rattled off a season-high six straight wins before falling in overtime Tuesday night in Winnipeg. The 2-1 setback dropped surging Minnesota to 8-1-2 over its last 11 games.

Minnesota is currently situated in the first non-playoff spot in the Western Conference and trails Calgary by four points for the second wild card berth. Dallas and Los Angeles also are just one point behind the Wild in the conference standings.

The Wild tied Tuesday's game at 1-1 on Jason Pominville's 11th goal of the season around the midway point of the third period. However, Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien went coast-to-coast to score the deciding goal with 1:00 remaining in overtime.

"Looking at the standings it's really important for us to get every point we can," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "When they grab that 1-0 lead for us to come back and tie up right away, that's going to be a big point."

Devan Dubnyk made his 11th straight start in net for the Wild and was saddled with the loss despite posting 32 saves. Dubnyk boasts an 8-1-1 record and 1.53 goals against average since coming over in a trade with Arizona last month. He is likely to start again tonight.

Minnesota is kicking off a two-game homestand tonight and is 14-7-5 as the host this season. The Wild have won three straight on home ice.

Florida, meanwhile, enters tonight riding a four-game point streak (3-0-1) and is coming off Tuesday's blowout win over the Anaheim Ducks. Dmitry Kulikov, Nick Bjugstad and Jimmy Hayes each recorded a power-play goal as the Florida Panthers notched a 6-2 win over the visiting Ducks.

Already leading 3-1, Florida scored two goals in a 22-second span in the second period to put the game away and win for the third time in four games.

Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov and Dave Bolland added markers, Jonathan Huberdeau tallied three assists, and Brian Campbell had two for the Panthers.

Roberto Luongo made 31 saves for the Panthers, who are four points behind Boston for the last playoff spot in the East.

Florida is playing two straight and seven of its next eight games on the road. The Panthers are 12-9-6 as the visiting club this season.

Minnesota has dominated the all-time series with the Panthers, going 11-2-2 with a tie over 16 meetings. The Panthers are 1-4-1 with a tie in seven trips to St. Paul.