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Preview: Wild at Stars

Darcy Kuemper in goal for Minnesota; Antti Niemi makes third straight start for Dallas

by Sean Shapiro / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (26-9-5) AT STARS (18-17-8)

8:00 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV

 

Wild team scope

Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for the Minnesota Wild, who playing back-to-back games this weekend. Kuemper last played against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 7, making 32 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss. "Just practice hard and be ready when your number gets called," Kuemper said. "That's all I've been trying to do, and just try and give the team a chance to win when I'm in there." Devan Dubnyk will start against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. The Wild have allowed one goal in each of their past two games after allowing four goals in each of the prior four games. "We're playing and being a little bit more deliberate in what they're doing," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I'd like to say it's because they're not cheating in their own zone. And the same time, good defense leads to good offense." The Wild, who defeated the Montreal Canadiens 7-1 on Thursday, have points in four straight games and are 15-1-1 in their past 17 games.

 

Stars team scope

Antti Niemi will make his third straight start for the Dallas Stars after stopping 31 shots in a 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. It will be Niemi's fifth straight appearance after Kari Lehtonen was pulled in back-to-back starts on Jan. 7 and Jan. 9 against the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. The Stars are making a more concentrated effort to go hard to the net like they did in the win against Detroit, where three of the five goals came off deflections or rebounds. "You just look at goals, and I look back at my goals, and everything is around the crease," said forward Lauri Korpikoski, who has two goals in his past four games. "When you're not scoring you have to keep telling yourself, 'just get in there,' something will get in." Jamie Benn will play his second game after returning from a foot injury against Detroit. Benn, with 34 points in 39 games is second to Tyler Seguin (41 points) on the Stars. The Stars have allowed at least one power play goal in seven straight games. During that time the Stars are 10-for-18 on the penalty kill. The Stars will use the same lineup they used against Detroit. 

 

Wild projected lineup

Zach Parise -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Matt Dumba

Marco Scandella -- Christian Folin

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Nate Prosser, Kurtis Gabriel

Injured: Victor Bartley (arm)

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel -- Cody Eakin -- Jason Spezza

Lauri Korpikoski -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Jiri Hudler -- Devin Shore -- Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya -- Stephen Johns

Dan Hamhuis -- Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Curtis McKenzie, Adam Cracknell, Patrik Nemeth

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip), Jamie Oleksiak (hand)

 

Status report

The Stars recalled defenseman Nemeth from his conditioning stint on Saturday. Nemeth had three points in four AHL games with the Texas Stars. 

 

Who's hot

Staal has eight points during a four-game point streak. Dumba has four points during a two-game point streak. Korpikoski has two goals and two assists in his past four games. 

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