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The Minnesota Wild are once again making headlines, though not the good kind. They're on a five-game losing streak and have won just three games over their last 10 outings. On this five-game stretch, they've been outscored 15-6, scoring more than one point just once, in a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 9. They'll wrap up a four-game hometand in which they're winless through three games on Thursday when they play host to the Winnipeg Jets.
Winnipeg isn't doing great either, riding a two-game losing skid and loses in six of their last 10 games. Their most recent outing was a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders, which came after a crazy 8-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Jets are looking for a win on the road before they go back home for an eight-game homestand that takes them into March.
Minnesota is also making headlines as the NHL trade deadline fast approaches. Marek Zidlicky, who has been playing great hockey of late, has asked for a trade and could be on his way out, potentially to the New Jersey Devils. To keep him healthy and perhaps keep the team chemistry from going sour, the Wild have made him a healthy scratch for Thursday's game, a definite positive for the Jets.
Winnipeg also took the first meeting between these two teams this season, beating the Wild 2-1 on Dec. 13, when Ondrei Pavelec stopped 34 shots and was the main reason Winnipeg took home that win. Thursday's matchup will be the second and final matchup between them this season.
The Wild are not in a position where they're out of the race as they have essentially been in past seasons, but they can't maintain this stretch of scoring just one goal per game because it will put them further out of the Western Conference race. They're sitting at 12th place in the conference and have the worst goal-scoring average of any team not from Los Angeles.
It's going to be tough for Minnesota, who will also likely be without forward Cal Clutterbuck (questionable) after he missed Tuesday's game. He'll likely join Ckayton Stoner, Guillaume Latendresse, Jarod Palmer and Pierre-Marc Bouchard as inactive for the game.