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At the Rink: Wild at Stars

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars had seven defensemen participate in morning skate at American Airlines Center on Saturday, and 30 minutes after skate ended, Dallas added an eighth by claiming David Schlemko off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.

“You can never have enough defensemen,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “We lost (Sergei) Gonchar (to a trade). We lost Kevin Connauton; Patrik Nemeth’s injured. We’ve lost three defensemen during the course of the season, and we needed to add some depth.”

In 20 games with the Coyotes this season, Schlemko, in his sixth NHL season, had four points (three assists). He isn’t expected to arrive in Dallas in time to play on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.

“David’s a good player. He’s played over 200 games in the league. He moves the puck well and just adds some depth in case of injuries. We’re making a run here. The guys have been playing well. We just want to make sure that we got enough assets to keep this run going in case of injuries,” Nill said.

Dallas (17-14-5) looks to cap a perfect three-game homestand with a victory against the Wild, who defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Friday night at the XCel Energy Center.

The Stars have won seven of their past eight games, and are beginning a stretch where six of their next 10 opponents are from the Central Division.

Dallas is one week removed from its first division victory, a 4-3 win at the St. Louis Blues last Saturday, the type of result Ruff said he expects to see more of considering how well the Stars are currently playing.

“I think it’s the most consistent [run] we’ve been able to put together,” Ruff said. “I think you get confidence from winning. There’s a strong belief in the room that if we can stay consistent within our system that we give ourselves a good chance every night to win hockey games.”

Ruff kept his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from a 6-0 win against the Coyotes on Wednesday. Shawn Horcoff, who had been playing on the left side of the fourth line, will miss a second straight game due to illness.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice and will start an 11th consecutive game.

Minnesota (18-14-4) did not skate on Saturday morning since it is on the tail end of a back-to-back.

Here are the projected lineups:

WILD

Zach PariseMikko KoivuJason Pominville

Thomas VanekKyle BrodziakJustin Fontaine

Nino NiederreiterErik HaulaCharlie Coyle

Ryan CarterTyler Graovac - Matt Cooke

Ryan SuterJonas Brodin

Marco ScandellaJared Spurgeon

Nate Prosser - Christian Folin

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Stu Bickel, Brett Sutter.

Injured: Keith Ballard (facial fractures), Mikael Granlund (wrist), Jason Zucker (illness).

STARS

Jamie BennTyler SeguinColton Sceviour

Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt

Travis MoenVernon FiddlerBrett Ritchie

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakTrevor Daley

Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Travis Morin.

Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Shawn Horcoff (illness), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip).

Status report: Ritchie, who scored the game-winner in his NHL debut, a 6-0 win against Arizona on Wednesday, will skate on the fourth line for a second straight game. … Jokipakka and Morin will be healthy scratches for a second consecutive game.

Who’s hot: Koivu has 23 points (14 assists) in 28 games against Dallas. … Seguin has five points (three assists) in his past four games against the Wild.

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