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GAME: Minnesota Wild (27-28-20-3) at Detroit Red Wings (45-20-11-2).
TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.
Although goaltender Curtis Joseph may be well enough to return for the Detroit Red Wings in time for the playoffs, backup Manny Legace is building his own case for playing time.
After allowing just one goal in the last two games, Legace will look to keep up his strong play when the Western conference-leading Red Wings host the Minnesota Wild.
An MRI on Joseph's right ankle, which he injured Tuesday during a pregame skate, revealed that a small piece of cartilage pulled away from a bone. He is expected to miss at least the next two games but may return before the regular season ends next Saturday.
"It's about what we expected," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. "There's nothing structurally wrong. It's a discomfort. It's either something he's going to be able to deal with, or not deal with."
Legace has kept Detroit on pace as it tries to clinch the best record in the league. He stopped 34 shots in a 3-1 victory at Colorado on Tuesday, and earned his third shuout of the season in a 2-0 win at home against the Avalanche at home on Saturday.
"It's hard to go with a guy that has never played under the pressure cooker," said Legace, who is 7-2-1 in his last 11 games. "But I want to make it hard on the people making the decisions. I want the job. I want a chance to be the guy that gets us all the way to the finals."
Eventhough Legace leads Joseph in wins (21) and games (38) this season, he has played just 11 minutes in a playoff game while Joseph has played in 122 games.
"Whether it's Manny or Curtis, to me, it's not an issue," Holland said. "Either goalie is going to give us a good chance of winning."
Detroit, 9-1-1 in their last 11 home games, is tied with Tampa Bay for the NHL's best record and has one game in hand on the Lightning and four games left.
Minnesota plays its final road game of the season at Detroit. Although eliminated from the playoffs, the Wild have points in nine of its last 11 games (5-2-3-1).
Marion Gaborik scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Sunday. Dwayne Roloson made 18 saves, and rookie Rickard Wallin scored his second goal in as many games.
Detroit leads the all-time series 8-4-3-0.
STANDINGS: Wild - 77 points, 5th place, 17 PB, Northwest Division. Red Wings - 103 points, 1st place, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Alexandre Daigle and Gaborik, 16 goals; Andrew Brunette, 31 assists and 46 points; Matt Johnson, 175 PIM. Red Wings - Robert Lang and Pavel Datsyuk, 29 goals; Robert Lang, 49 assists and 78 points; Brendan Shanahan, 111 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 27): Wild - Power play: 13 percent (41 for 316), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (228 for 271), 16th. Red Wings - Power play: 20.6 percent (63 for 306), 4th. Penalty killing: 86.8 percent (264 for 304), 1st.
GOALTENDERS: Wild - Roloson (17-18-11, 4 SO, 1.87 GAA); Manny Fernandez (10-13-9, 2, 2.43). Red Wings - Legace (21-9-5, 3, 2.04); Marc Lamothe (0-0-1, 0.92).
SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 1-0-2.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 26; Tie, 2-2. At Detroit, the Red Wings outshot the Wild 19-6 in the third period and 40-24 for the game but Roloson made 38 saves.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 11-15-13-1 on the road; Red Wings - 29-6-4-0 at home.