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Jan 14, 2024 6:36 pm

Isles, Wild try to snap out of recent funks

The Minnesota Wild will try to bounce back from their most lopsided loss of the season when they host the New York Islanders Monday in St. Paul, Minn.

Minnesota is coming off a 6-0 defeat on home ice against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. It marked the Wild’s fourth loss in a row and its eighth in the past nine games.

After the game, the Wild had a players-only meeting to address the recent skid.

“It’s embarrassing to lose like that at home,” Wild forward Mats Zuccarello said. “I think everyone, every single guy in here, feels the same way. It’s just not good enough.”

Now comes a test against the Islanders, who are heading into the second game of a four-game road trip. New York is coming off a 3-1 loss against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The Islanders have lost three of their past four games and five of their past seven.

Islanders coach Lane Lambert bristled after the latest defeat, which he said was a result of poor fundamentals by his players.

“We turned the puck over,” Lambert said. “We tried to go through the middle of the ice. It’s a cardinal sin in our zone, and we turned the puck over. … It was just kind of a calamity of errors.”

Mathew Barzal leads the Islanders with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists) in 41 games. Noah Dobson is next with 43 points (six goals, 37 assists) and Bo Horvat has 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists).

Minnesota’s top scorer is Kirill Kaprizov, who has 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists) in 35 games. Kaprizov returned Saturday after missing the previous seven games because of a reported rib injury.

Zuccarello ranks second with 30 points (six goals, 24 assists), and Joel Eriksson Ek is third with 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists).

The Islanders likely will stick with primary starter Ilya Sorokin in net. Sorokin is 13-9-8 with a 3.16 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. He is 0-2-1 with a 2.32 GAA and a .920 save percentage in three career games against the Wild.

Islanders backup Semyon Varlamov is 6-4-2 with a 2.78 GAA and a .918 save percentage. The 35-year-old has faced Minnesota 30 times, and he is 13-15-1 with a 2.33 GAA and a .926 save percentage in those contests.

Minnesota coach John Hynes must decide between Filip Gustavsson and Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes. Gustavsson is coming off a difficult outing in which he allowed five goals on 18 shots in his return from a lower-body injury.

In 23 games this season, Gustavsson is 10-10-2 with a 3.13 GAA and an .898 save percentage. He is 2-1-0 with a 2.29 GAA and a .920 save percentage in three games against the Islanders.

Fleury is 7-9-3 with a 3.12 GAA and an .893 save percentage in 21 games. Against the Islanders, he is 28-12-6 with a 2.43 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 48 games.

Fleury needs one more win to surpass Patrick Roy for second place on the NHL’s all-time list. He is 551-324-94, with 40 of those victories coming with the Wild.

– Field Level Media

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