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How long will Wild continue their rotation in the goal?

It’s almost a guarantee that Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot will split back-to-backs down the stretch.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a save during the third period against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

ST. PAUL — Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot are never going to willingly give up the crease. Both veteran goaltenders are far too competitive for that.

Not surprisingly, though, they have co-existed wonderfully since Wild general manager Bill Guerin acquired Fleury a few weeks ago in a blockbuster move at the trade deadline.

Though coach Dean Evason has instituted a rotation of sorts in each of the past 11 games — Talbot got the start against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center — neither goaltender has complained about it.

“It’s been good,” Fleury said. “Obviously more rest time and stuff. Sometimes we get into a groove when we play a lot. But I feel like the schedule is so busy that it won’t feel like too long in between games.”

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (24) celebrates his power play goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with goaltender Cam Talbot (33) in the first period March 31, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
David Berding / USA Today Sports

How long will Wild continue their rotation between the pipes? That remains to be seen.

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The Wild have 10 games left in the regular season with three sets of back-to-back games — on April 16-17, April 21-22 and April 28-29. It’s almost a guarantee that Fleury and Talbot will split those back-to-backs, which will likely leave some questions as to which goaltender will start Game 1 of the playoffs.

Not that either Fleury or Talbot are thinking too far ahead.

“We have a lot of hockey to play,” Talbot said. “We want to continue to do what we’ve been doing lately and continue to build our game heading into the playoffs.”

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Scoreboard watching

Neither the Wild nor the St. Louis Blues are going to catch the Colorado Avalanche (52-14-6, 110 points) for the Central Division crown. It’s pretty much impossible.

Thus, the Wild (44-21-6, 94 points) and the Blues (42-20-10, 94 points) appear to be on a crash course to meet in the first round of the playoffs. That’s sure to be a hotly contested series, which means home-ice advantage will be of utmost importance for both teams.

Asked if the Wild locker room has been keeping a collective eye on out-of-town scores, Ryan Hartman said the only time he looks is if the Wild lose a game.

“I’ve never really looked after we win,” Hartman said. “If we do our job, we don’t have to worry about anything else.”

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Injury update

Jon Merrill (upper-body injury) and Nic Deslauriers (lower-body injury) are continuing to progress through the recovery process. While neither player suited up for the game against the Oilers, it is like both will accompany the Wild on the upcoming road trip.

Meanwhile, Matt Dumba (upper-body injury) is getting closer to rejoining his teammates for practice. He has been skating on his own over the past week or so.

“That’s a real positive,” Evason said. “I don’t know what his status is going to be as far as coming on the road or if he’ll stay and skate with (skating coach Andy Ness) here. We haven’t quite dialed that in yet.”

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