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Hemsky could sit as Stars, Wild fight for wild card

by Dan Myers

STARS (27-23-9) at WILD (30-21-7)


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon will miss his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury when the Wild play the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday (8 p.m. EST, NBCSN).

Spurgeon was hit in the face with a puck during the first period in a game Wednesday against the Calgary Flames. He did not return to the game and did not play Friday against the Edmonton Oilers.

It is believed Spurgeon has concussion-like symptoms. Wild coach Mike Yeo said Spurgeon is feeling better but said he remains day-to-day.

“It’s a difficult player to replace in your lineup,” Yeo said. “We’re losing a valuable player and a guy that provides a lot to our group in many different roles. But when that happens, guys have to find a way to step up and certain players have to find a way to elevate their game and we’ve seen that.”

With Spurgeon out, rookie Matt Dumba has jumped into his role with Marco Scandella on the Wild’s second defensive pairing. Dumba has responded by playing two solid games in a row, scoring a goal against the Flames and making a crucial defensive play that set up the game-winning goal in overtime in a 3-2 victory. He skated in career-high 20:00 and was a plus-1 in a 4-0 win against the Oilers.

“Coming off his game in Calgary, I was anxious to see how he was going to play [in Edmonton],” Yeo said. “Quite often with young players that follow-up game there is a bit of a drop there. He’s a kid who wants more and he recognized the opportunity with [Spurgeon] being out of the lineup. He had himself ready to play the right way.”

Dallas did not skate after arriving in the Twin Cities early Sunday morning. The Stars lost in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings 7-6 at the American Airlines Center on Saturday.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff indicated forward Ales Hemsky may not play against the Wild because of an undisclosed injury.

With uncertainty surrounding Hemsky, Dallas recalled forward Brendan Ranford from Texas of the American Hockey League. Ranford has 13 goals and 23 assists in the AHL this season. He made his NHL debut on Thursday, playing 9:19 in a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Ruff also said Jhonas Enroth will be his starting goaltender. It will be Enroth’s second start (third appearance) for the Stars since being acquired in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 11. Enroth allowed four goals in a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in his Dallas debut Feb. 14.

Minnesota will counter with Devan Dubnyk, who started his first game with the Wild on Jan. 15 against Enroth and the Sabres. Dubnyk made 18 saves in that game, a 7-0 victory, his first of five shutouts in 16 starts with the Wild. Minnesota is a league-best 12-2-2 since acquiring Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn - Jason Spezza - Erik Cole

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Brett Ritchie

Curtis McKenzie - Vernon Fiddler - Brendan Ranford

Ryan Garbutt - Shawn Horcoff - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Jyrki Jokipakka - Trevor Daley

Jordie Benn - Jason Demers

Jhonas Enroth

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Brendan Ranford, David Schlemko

Injured: Tyler Seguin (knee), Patrick Eaves (concussion), Travis Moen (upper body), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Ales Hemsky (undisclosed)


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Justin Fontaine

Nino Niederreiter - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Jordan Schroeder

Stephane Veilleux - Erik Haula - Kyle Brodziak

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Matt Dumba

Nate Prosser - Christian Folin

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Niklas Backstrom, Michael Keranen

Injured: Jared Spurgeon (upper body), Jason Zucker (clavicle), Matt Cooke (sports hernia), Ryan Carter (upper body), Keith Ballard (head/face)

Status report: Kuemper will serve as the backup to Dubnyk on Sunday. Yeo has mostly been rotating back-up duties between Kuemper and Backstrom on a game-by-game basis.

Who’s hot: Daley has a goal and an assist in each of the past two games. His 16 goals this season are tied for second among all NHL defensemen. ... Fontaine has three goals in his past two games and five points overall in his past four. He scored two goals in a 4-0 win against the Oilers on Friday.

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