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Preview: Stars at Wild

Darcy Kuemper in goal for Minnesota; Dallas hopes to end losing streak

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

STARS (22-26-10) at WILD (37-13-6)

8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-SW, NHL.TV

 

Stars team scope

The Dallas Stars will try to prevent their losing streak from reaching three games. They are 0-2-0 in their past two and 1-6-0 in their past seven. The Stars also have lost five straight on the road (0-5-0), and will conclude a three-game road trip on Thursday. They are seven points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "I think the biggest thing has been the lack of execution," coach Lindy Ruff said of his team's struggles on the road. "We've had a lot of games where we've had the puck on the stick of the right player and it's been point blank where we haven't capitalized … I think I've looked at the way we've scored on the road vs. the way we scored at home, our tenacity of getting to the net and getting the second opportunity has got to get better on the road … we've got to get away from that less-than-two-goals-a-game on the road. You're not going to win a lot of games [that way] … that's sort of been the story this season." Goalie Kari Lehtonen will start for Dallas. 

 

Wild team scope

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for the Minnesota Wild. It will be his first game since he made 28 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 8. "I've been playing a little bit more regularly lately," Kuemper said. "It's kind of nice going in there and not feeling like you haven't played for a long time. It's a little bit more comforting and you can just go out there and play your game." Coach Bruce Boudreau said it's important to get Kuemper in games before the team's bye week Feb. 22-26. "We need him to be good, for us to be good, because we're not going to be able to play [Devan Dubnyk] 22 games in a row after the break." The Wild are looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. They have not lost back-to-back games in regulation since Nov. 1 (2-1 against the Buffalo Sabres) and Nov. 5 (1-0 against the Colorado Avalanche). "We put a lot of emphasis on not letting anything fester or snowball," Boudreau said. "It's going to happen at times, but we really know that this is an important game because we weren't successful the last game. We don't want to lose two in a row. As much as they want to win, we want to win as well."

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Patrick Eaves

Devin Shore -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin

Antoine Roussel -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Curtis McKenzie -- Adam Cracknell -- Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Jordie Benn

Jamie Oleksiak -- Patrik Nemeth

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Lauri Korpikoski

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip), Johnny Oduya (ankle), Stephen Johns (illness)

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Alex Tuch

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Chris Stewart -- Charlie Coyle -- Jason Pominville

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Christian Folin

Gustav Olofsson -- Nate Prosser

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Zack Mitchell

Injured: Matt Dumba (lower body), Jonas Brodin (finger), Victor Bartley (arm)

 

Status update

Dumba remains day to day but is not expected to play until after the bye week. 

 

Who's hot

Jamie Benn has three goals and four assists during a four-game point streak, and nine goals and nine assists in 13 games. Seguin has one goal and four assists in the past two games. … Pominville has four goals and 13 assists in the past 13 games. Granlund has six goals and 13 assists in the past 17 games. Niederreiter has eight goals and eight assists in the past 15 games.

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