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Stars-Wild Preview

Friday, 01.17.2014 / 7:00 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars-Wild Preview
Previewing Saturday night\'s tilt between the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild.

Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
Saturday, January 18
8:00 p.m.
TV: TXA-21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (21-19-7) are coming off a 4-2 loss to Boston at American Airlines Center Thursday night. It was the seventh loss in the last eight games for the Stars.

“We’re trying to improve on certain aspects of the game and trying to get more battle in our game. Sometimes you fall a little short,” said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “We had too many turnovers and we gave up too many odd-man rushes. It’s not going to win you hockey games.”

Saturday’s game against Minnesota opens a two-game road trip for the Stars. They play at Nashville on Monday. The Stars have two games in a four-day span against Minnesota, which holds the last playoff spot in the Western Conference and is eight points ahead of Dallas.

“It’s huge. Four point games, all of them,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “Especially playing Minnesota twice in four days, we want to set the tone in the first game. I think we need to gain some of the ground that we lost in [the six-game losing streak]. We understand the importance of these games and what this two-game road trip will mean for us.”

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar and forward Ray Whitney did not practice Friday due to injuries. Both are questionable for Saturday. D Aaron Rome, who has missed the last three games with a lower body injury, has been cleared to return.

Injuries: D Aaron Rome is probable. D Sergei Gonchar (lower body) and F Ray Whitney (upper body) are questionable. D Stephane Robidas (leg) is out.

About the Wild

The Wild (26-19-5) defeated Edmonton, 4-1, Thursday night in St. Paul. The win came in the 1,000th game in franchise history. Defenseman Nate Prosser late in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie, and that goal held up as the game winner for the Wild, who have won six of their last eight games.

“Our locker room is pretty confident right now,” Prosser said. “We needed a bounce back game [after a 3-0 loss to Ottawa) and we got it. A lot of the guys are feeling good about their games right now, and they should. Our D corps is playing well and our goalies are playing well. It’s a good feeling right now in our locker room.”

The Wild sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They have a four point lead over Phoenix and an eight point lead over Dallas, which they play in their next two games.

“We were better tonight, but I still think there is another level. That has to be our mindset,” said Wild coach Mike Yeo. “It doesn’t matter that we won tonight, our next game is a big one. We have to come to the rink [Friday] and our goal has to be to get better.”

Injuries: LW Zach Parise (foot), C Mikko Koivu (ankle), G Josh Harding (ill) and D Jared Spurgeon (lower body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the second of four meetings between the Stars and Wild this season.

*The Stars are 0-1-0 in the season series and the Wild are 1-0-0.

*October 12, Dallas at Minnesota: Wild 5, Stars 1

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 1-7-0 over their last eight games.

*The Wild are 6-2-0 over their last eight games.

*The Wild are 3-4-0 in their last seven home games.

*The Stars are 2-5-2 in their last nine road games.

*The Wild have scored at least four goals in seven of their last 11 games, matching their total through the first 39 games.

*The Stars have allowed four goals or more in five of their last eight games.

*The Stars are 5-7-4 vs. the Central Division.

*The Wild are 9-7-1 vs. the Central Division.

*Saturday marks the eighth annual Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota on FOX Sports North. Minnesota is 5-1-1 all-time on Hockey Day Minnesota, including four straight wins.

*Stars forward Erik Cole has seven goals in the last 11 games.

*Wild forward Jason Zucker has four goals in eight games since being recalled from Iowa of the AHL on Jan. 1.

*Tyler Seguin leads Dallas in goals (21) and points (44).

*Jason Pominville leads the Wild with 19 goals. Mikko Koivu (injured) leads Minnesota with 35 points.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 62 37 20 5 183 146 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 61 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 61 14 37 -3 51
E. Cole 56 18 14 4 32
J. Klingberg 47 10 22 4 32
T. Daley 58 16 15 -11 31
A. Hemsky 55 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 61 2 24 4 26
C. Eakin 58 12 13 -3 25
A. Roussel 59 11 11 -11 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 9 .906 2.96
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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