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Front end of back-to-backs has stymied Wild

by Alain Poupart
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Playing back-to-back games is a tough challenge, but it's usually the second game coaches worry about.

For the Minnesota Wild, it's the front end that's been a nightmare.

When they take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday night before playing at Dallas on Friday, the Wild will be looking for their first victory in the first game of back-to-back sets.

Minnesota is 0-6-1 in such games, the only point coming in a 2-1 shootout los at Nashville on Dec. 28.

The six losses came at the Islanders (2-1), at Los Angeles (5-2), against Calgary (5-2), at Winnipeg (2-1), at Vancouver (4-0) and at St. Louis (4-0).

Coach Mike Yeo brought up the unusual streak when he was asked about the possibility of goalie Matt Hackett starting at Dallas.

"There is a chance, but the one thing about that is I don't want to answer any questions about tomorrow," Yeo said. "We're a team that's 0-7 -- I just realized this -- on the first night of back-to-backs. There's a very good chance that's because we're maybe looking forward or don't quite have our sights set on the game that we're playing that day.

"This would be a game that it would be very easy for us to look beyond and look towards that Dallas game. This game for me is all about making sure that we're in this moment and understanding that there's nothing more important than this game right now."

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