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Preview: Stars at Wild

Jason Spezza, Jiri Hudler game-time decisions for Dallas; Devan Dubnyk has two straight shutouts for Minnesota

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

STARS (3-3-1) at WILD (5-2-1)

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

 

Stars team scope

Center Jason Spezza and right wing Jiri Hudler will be game-time decisions for the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Spezza has missed two games with a lower-body injury and Hudler has missed five games because of illness. Each skated during practice on Friday and participated in the morning skate Saturday. "[I feel] pretty good," Spezza said. "We'll wait and see what the coach says [about playing tonight]. I spent some time yesterday, it was a good skate, and had a good skate again this morning, so we'll see where we're at at game time." Hudler said, "I think I'm in" though Stars coach Lindy Ruff said the status of each player will be a game-time decision. "We'll see," Ruff said. "Come game time that will all unfold for us. I thought both [Hudler and Spezza] skated well. Jiri's just been fighting illness and is coming off of that and Jason has been fighting a minor injury and obviously both players feeling a lot better." Goaltender Kari Lehtonen will start.  

 

Wild team scope

Forward Tyler Graovac was recalled by the Minnesota Wild on Saturday from Iowa of the American Hockey League and will enter the lineup in place of forward Teemu Pulkinnen, who was placed on waivers Friday. "We want to see his competitiveness as much in training camp and sort of how bad he wants to play in the NHL," coach Bruce Boudreau said of Graovac. "This is a good opportunity for him, so let's see what he does." Graovac, who will be playing his sixth NHL game, said he is "just trying to prove who I am as a player." Defenseman Jared Spurgeon is back in the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. "It felt like a long time, especially when you're on the road," Spurgeon said. "I'm just excited to get back out there and fill in as seamlessly as I can."

 

Stars projected lineup

Antoine Roussel - Tyler Seguin - Jiri Hudler

Jamie Benn - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves

Curtis McKenzie - Devin Shore - Brett Ritchie

Gemel Smith - Justin Dowling - Adam Cracknell

Patrik Nemeth - John Klingberg

Stephen Johns- Johnny Oduya

Esa Lindell - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Dan Hamhuis, Jamie Oleksiak, Lauri Korpikoski, Radek Faksa

Injured: Alex Hemsky (groin), Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms), Cody Eakin (knee)

 

Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Joel Eriksson Ek - Jason Pominville

Tyler Graovac - Zac Dalpe - Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter - Matt Dumba

Jared Spurgeon - Nate Prosser

Jonas Brodin - Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: None

Injured: Erik Haula (lower body), Marco Scandella (lower body)

 

Status report

There is no time frame for Sharp's return. … Haula's status remains day to day, but Boudreau said Haula could return Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. Scandella left the game Thursday against the Boston Bruins, and also is day to day.

 

Who's hot

Dubnyk is coming off back-to-back shutout wins, and is 4-1-1 with a 1.67 goals-against average in six starts. "It's tough to pinpoint something [specifically that's working]," Dubnyk said. "I think I've just been working on a few small things, a lot of the head tracking stuff and making sure I always have a sightline on the puck. The guys are doing a good job in front of me. I'm able to trust everything that's going on out there, so that makes my reads a lot easier. It's fun to play when you're feeling that way."

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