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Wild at Stars preview

Dallas can clinch first wild card in Western Conference with at least one point against Minnesota

by Jeff Miller / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (37-35-9) at STARS (42-32-7)

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

 

The Game

The Dallas Stars can clinch the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with at least one point against the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center on Saturday.

The Stars, 4-1-1 in their past six games, can also secure the first wild card if the Colorado Avalanche, who trail Dallas by one point and hold the second wild card, lose at the San Jose Sharks in any fashion on Saturday.

The Wild, 4-8-1 in their past 13 games, have been eliminated from playoff contention.

 

Players to watch

Wild forward Ryan Donato has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 21 games since being acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins on Feb. 20.

Stars goalie Ben Bishop is expected to start for the first time since March 27, when he sustained a lower-body injury and left during the second period of a 2-1 loss at the Calgary Flames. Bishop leads the NHL in save percentage (.933), is second in goals-against average (2.03); he has missed 17 games and left three others because of injury.

 

They said it

"I told the team that you worked your butt off all year, so you don't make it, you're not going to go in and fold the tent now. You're going to play hard. That's what we've been known to be." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

"We're going forward for tomorrow, going to come back and play our best game so we feel good going forward." -- Stars defenseman John Klingberg after a 6-1 loss at the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday

 

Wild projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Eric Staal -- Victor Rask

Ryan Donato -- Nico Sturm -- Kevin Fiala

Jordan Greenway -- Joel Eriksson Ek -- Luke Kunin

Marcus Foligno -- Eric Fehr -- Pontus Aberg

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin -- Nick Seeler

Anthony Bitetto -- Greg Pateryn

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Brad Hunt, Mat Robson

Injured: Mikko Koivu (knee), Matt Dumba (ruptured right pectoral muscle), Zach Parise (illness), J.T. Brown (illness)

 

Stars projected lineup

Mattias Janmark -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Jamie Benn -- Roope Hintz -- Jason Dickinson

Andrew Cogliano -- Radek Faksa -- Blake Comeau

Joel L'Esperance -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Pitlick

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen -- Roman Polak

Taylor Fedun -- Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Julius Honka, Jamie Oleksiak, Mats Zuccarello, Justin Dowling

Injured: Stephen Johns (upper body), Marc Methot (lower body), Martin Hanzal (back), Brett Ritchie (hand), Valeri Nichushkin (illness)

 

Status report

Brown, who played the previous 21 games, remained at the Wild hotel during the morning skate Saturday. … The Stars did not hold a morning skate. … Benn, Zuccarello, Cogliano and Polak were rested Friday.

 

Stat pack

Suter leads the NHL in average time on ice at 26:43. … Radulov has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in a seven-game point streak and is one point shy of 300 in the NHL. … Seguin has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in his past nine games.

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