Michael Russo of The Athletic is reporting that Filip Gustavsson was the first goalie off at Minnesota Wild practice today indicating that he will likely get the start in game six tonight against the Dallas Stars. Gustavsson has been between the pipes for four of the Wild’s five playoff games and has given up just nine goals on 125 shots. Although those numbers are sparking, Gustavsson has struggled in each of his last two starts giving up three goals in each game on just 24 shots. This drop in his play coupled with the brilliant play of Dallas netminder Jake Oettinger has Minnesota on the ropes as they will face elimination in game six tonight.
There was some speculation that Minnesota could turn to veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to start game six, but Fleury has struggled in his last four starts dating back to early April. The former Vezina winner has only started one game in the series, a game two loss in which he gave up seven goals on 31 shots. Gustavsson had superior numbers to Fleury in the regular season as well and may even garner some Vezina consideration come awards season.
In other Minnesota notes:
- Michael Russo tweeted that Oskar Sundqvist could possibly play tonight for the Wild. Sundqvist hasn’t dressed since game two of the Dallas series and has a goal in just a single game in these playoffs. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was healthy scratched for game three and hasn’t seen game action since. The 29-year-old Swede came over from the Detroit Red Wings in a trade deadline move for a fourth-round pick and looked to be a fit putting up seven points in 15 games. However, in the playoffs the Wild have opted for more toughness and have kept Ryan Reaves in the lineup over Sundqvist.
- Russo also tweeted that Wild forward Mats Zuccarello will likely be out of the lineup, or best-case scenario he will be a game time decision. The Norway native didn’t skate yesterday with the team and is dealing with an undisclosed ailment. The Wild have been tight lipped about the situation and at this point there are more questions than answers. Zuccarello has been fantastic for the Wild this season with 67 points in 78 games during the regular season and has followed that up with two goals and three assists through five playoff games. Should he be unable to dress, the Wild will be hard pressed to replicate his production in the most important game of their season.