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Haula could return for Wild in Game 2

Minnesota searching for offense against Dallas

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com correspondent

Wild on Possible Haula Return

Wild on Possible Haula Return - 4/15/16

Erik Haula, Nino Niederreiter and Interim Head Coach John Torchetti talk about the possible return of Erik Haula for Game 2 in Dallas

  • 01:08 •

DALLAS -- Forward Erik Haula could return to the Minnesota Wild for Game 2 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars on Saturday at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS2, FS-SW, FS-N, FS-WI).

Haula, who missed Dallas' 4-0 win in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series on Thursday with a lower-body injury, had 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 76 games with the Wild this season.

During practice Friday, Haula centered the Wild's third line with Nino Niederreiter on the left and Jason Pominville on the right.

Wild interim coach John Torchetti shuffled his forward lines on Friday with a goal of generating more offense. Minnesota had 46 shot attempts in Game 1, and Dallas had 62.

"Yeah, well, we haven't had any offense, so hopefully we'll take a look at maybe [Charlie Coyle] at center [as one change]," Torchetti said Friday. "We'll see how that looks and go from there."

When asked if Haula would return for Game 2, Torchetti was noncommittal.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow [Saturday]," Torchetti said. "That would be a big help for us. I think it'll solidify that line with [Pominville] and himself back. We haven't had that flow of the checking mentality and we want to get back to that."

"They had a good checking line against one of our lines last night, and we've got to do a better job in that matchup, too."

Haula said he is "good to go" for Game 2 and ready to play his 15th career playoff game.

"Yeah, I'm excited," he said." It's the best time of the year. I love playing in the playoffs. It's a challenge [to face a top seed like Dallas], but … I think everyone should just be positive and create a positive environment."

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who started Game 1 and is the likely starter in Game 2, missed practice Friday with what Torchetti termed a maintenance day.

Even though Haula wasn't on the ice for the Wild's Game 1 loss, he doesn't feel evening the series before it shifts to Minnesota is out of the question.

"I think we have a lot of confidence in beating this team," Haula said. "I feel like guys were just disappointed in themselves [after Game 1]. We didn't play like we wanted to play, and that's going to change."

Should Haula return for Game 2, Zac Dalpe, who centered the third line in Game 1 alongside Chris Porter on the left and David Jones on the right, likely would be a healthy scratch. Dalpe made his playoff debut in Game 1.

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