Skip to Main Content

Stars and Wild look to end losing streaks

by John Kreiser
STARS (24-20-2) at COYOTES (22-18-7)

TV: TXA-21; FS-North (HD); FS-Wisconsin (HD)

LAST 10: Dallas 4-5-1, Minnesota 2-6-2

Season Series: Though the season is well past the midway point, these two Western Conference rivals are meeting for the first time. Neither team will forget their last meeting -- Minnesota rallied for three third-period goals and a 5-3 win in the last game of the 2010-11 season, denying the Stars a playoff berth.

Big Story: One team has to end a slump when Minnesota's past and present teams get together for the first time since last April. The Stars have dropped four in a row, while the Wild are back home after an 0-3-1 road trip that ended with a miserable 4-1 loss at Toronto.

Team Scope:

Stars: Dallas' offense has disappeared recently, a big reason the Stars have dropped out of the top eight in the West. Though his team is missing centers Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro, coach Glen Gulutzan was even unhappier with his team's work ethic in Friday's 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

"The frustrating part was the first 30 minutes of getting outworked," Glen Gulutzan said. "Some team comes into your building on a Friday night and outplays you for 30 minutes, I got a real problem with it. We have to work 60 minutes every night with everyone in our lineup if we want to make the playoffs. If we don't, we won't play. That needs to be learned."

Wild: It's hard to believe that the Wild was on top of the overall standings less than six weeks ago. Very little has gone right for Minnesota since then, and Thursday's loss at Toronto might have been the low point -- the Wild were dominated early and showed little spark the rest of the way. Nick Johnson's late goal avoided a shutout, but coach Mike Yeo was more than a little displeased with his team.

"I've been coaching for quite a while and been part of a lot of games I didn't like, and this one ranks right up there," Yeo said after his team was outscored 17-6 on the trip.

Who's Hot: With both teams mired in losing streaks, no one on either squad is filling the net. Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen has allowed just five goals in his last three stars, but has lost all three.

Injury Report: Dallas is still without top centers, Jamie Benn (appendectomy) and Mike Ribeiro (knee). … Minnesota is without captain Mikko Koivu (upper body) and key forwards Pierre-Mac Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse (concussions).

Stat Pack: Dallas has allowed just eight goals during its four-game losing streak -- but has scored only four. … The Wild are allowing a League-high 32.4 shots per game, while taking just 26.7, fewer than only Edmonton and Anaheim. Minnesota's minus-5.7 shot differential per game is the worst in the NHL.

Puck Drop: In an effort to shake up the team, the Wild changed some bodies on Friday, recalling four players from AHL Houston -- Matt Kassian, Jed Ortmeyer, Chad Rau and defenseman Nate Prosser -- and sending down forwards Casey Wellman and David McIntyre.

"We need to make some changes right now," Yeo said Friday when asked about the roster shuffle. "We're not just going to stand around and hope things get better. Whatever it takes, whatever we can do to try to energize our group, gain some confidence to get a good feeling coming to the rink -- whether it's personnel decisions or the things we do in practice or meetings -- we have to do."

View More