Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
Minnesota
Wild
48-26-8
Dallas
Stars
50-25-7

game preview

Wild-Stars Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

Share with your Friends


Wild-Stars Preview
Minnesota Wild vs. Dallas Stars

Strong defense and opportunistic scoring have the Minnesota Wild poised to match their best road stretch of the season.

Minnesota looks for its fourth straight win - all on the road - and tries to end a five-game skid against the Dallas Stars when it concludes its road trip Tuesday night.

The Wild (29-21-4), winners of seven of their last eight away from St. Paul, improved to 3-1 on their trip with a 1-0 victory over Phoenix on Saturday. Minnesota last won four in a row on the road from Jan. 11-19.

The Wild haven't won more than three consecutive games overall since taking their first six contests to start the season.

Minnesota is 4-1 since falling to Dallas 2-1 in a shootout Jan. 20. The Wild have lost five in a row to the Stars (31-20-2) and are 2-5-3 in the last 10 meetings.

After scoring five goals in each of the first two wins of their streak, the Wild made one goal stand up Saturday, as rookie Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves for his second shutout of the season and Marian Gaborik scored in the second period.

"We had good fortune with our line," Gaborik said. "Pavol (Demitra) gave me a great pass and I was able to flip it in."

Gaborik has three goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. He's recorded two goals and two assists in his last three contests against the Stars.

Backstrom was starting a second straight game in place of Manny Fernandez, who's expected to be out for two to three weeks with a sprained knee. Backstrom, who won his third consecutive start overall, made 27 saves in a 5-3 win over Colorado on Thursday.

"The guys played a terrific game in front of me," Backstrom said. "The forwards were backchecking, and the defense cleared the slot in front of me. Everyone was working together and that was a big part of the win."

Backstrom will likely be in goal again Tuesday, and would make his first appearance against Dallas. Minnesota called up Josh Harding from Houston of the AHL on Thursday to serve as the backup.

Minnesota has earned a point in six of its last seven games, increasing its total to 62 and moving into a second-place tie with Vancouver. The Wild are only two points behind Calgary in the tightly bunched Northwest Division.

Dallas opens a five-game homestand, and will play seven of its next eight at the American Airlines Center. The Stars concluded a four-game trip with a 2-0 loss to St. Louis on Saturday.

Dallas, which went 2-2 on the trip, was playing for the fourth time in a seven-day span.

"We can't make excuses about being tired or fatigued," goaltender Marty Turco told the Stars' Web site. "The bottom line is that we didn't give ourselves the best chance of winning."

Turco, in his 20th consecutive start and 300th NHL game, made 17 saves against the Blues. He defeated San Jose in consecutive games on the trip to pull Dallas closer to the second-place Sharks in the Pacific Division, but the Stars trail first-place Anaheim by eight points.

Turco will look to bounce back from Saturday's defeat when he faces the Wild, a team he's 7-1 against in his last eight starts. He's allowed two goals or fewer in all but one of those contests.

Turco is 9-4-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average in 14 games against Minnesota. He stopped 25 shots in the Jan. 20 win over the Wild.

Dallas leads the series with Minnesota 13-7-1 with one tie.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 20 '07 DAL 1 at MIN 2 - SO M. Koivu
Feb 06 '07 MIN 2 at DAL 4 S. Zubov
Jan 20 '07 DAL 2 at MIN 1 - SO S. Barnes
Dec 02 '06 MIN 3 at DAL 4 - SO J. Jokinen