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Stars aim to close out Wild in Game 5

Dallas can advance in playoffs for first time in eight years; Minnesota to dress Schroeder, Stoll

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

Game 5: WILD at STARS

Western Conference First Round

Dallas leads best-of-7 series 3-1

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports, FS-N, FS-WI, FS-SW

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are one game from clinching their first playoff series win since 2008, and coach Lindy Ruff wants to see his team finish the job against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 on Friday night at American Airlines Center.

"Well, I've always said when you have a chance to get it done, you've got to get it done," Ruff said, "because when you don't, all it does is it shifts momentum the other direction. They [the Wild has] got their backs up against the wall, they have nothing to lose. They're on the brink [of elimination]."

Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairs identical from Dallas' 3-2 win in Game 4 at XCel Energy Center on Wednesday.

Goalie Antti Niemi, who made 28 saves in Game 4, his first start of the series, was first off the ice at morning skate and will start for Dallas, who leads the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Center Jason Spezza, second on the Stars with four points (two goals) in the series, expects another tough game with the Wild on Friday.

"You're playing against a team that's looking to try to stay alive," Spezza said. "They're going to throw everything at us. We're happy to be back home, [we want to] use the crowd to our advantage and try to win the special teams battle again."

Dallas center Tyler Seguin will miss a third consecutive game due to an issue associated with a partially-cut Achilles in March. Seguin, second on the Stars with 73 points this season, missed Game 1 before returning for Game 2, when he looked rusty and hasn't played since.

Wild interim coach John Torchetti appears to be making two changes to his lineup. On the second line, Jordan Schroeder likely will replace Justin Fontaine on the right side of the second line alongside Jason Zucker on the left and Charlie Coyle at center.

"To the team, he [Schroeder] brings a lot of speed," Torchetti said. "[He's] good on the forecheck, [he can] pressure the puck, good on neutral-zone transitions, good on entries. We like his speed a lot."

Torchetti also appears to be replacing center Zac Dalpe on the fourth line with Jarret Stoll, who will skate alongside Chris Porter on the left and Kurtis Gabriel on the right.

Stoll, a healthy scratch in Games 3 and 4, is ready to make an impact in Game 5.

"You never want to sit out," Stoll said. "You always want to your help your team win, and be in the locker room with the guys, and battling on the ice with the guys. It will be good to get back in tonight."

Torchetti is keeping his defensive pairs identical from Game 4. Goalie Devan Dubnyk was first off the ice at morning skate and will start his fifth consecutive game of the series.

Here are the projected lineups:


Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - David Jones

Jason Zucker - Charlie Coyle - Jordan Schroeder

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Chris Porter - Jarret Stoll - Kurtis Gabriel

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Injured: Zach Parise (back), Thomas Vanek (upper body).

Scratched: Ryan Carter, Zac Dalpe, Christian Folin, Justin Fontaine, Mike Reilly.


Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp

Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky

Valeri Nichushkin - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns

Kris Russell - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Injured: Tyler Seguin (Achilles).

Scratched: Jordie Benn, Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak.

Status report: Dalpe is a healthy scratch for the second time in the series and first time since Game 2. … Schroeder is making his first appearance of this series and seeing his first playoff action since May 7, 2015 when he played for the Wild in Game 4 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Semifinal.

Who's hot: Haula has three points (two assists) in three games for the Wild in this series, all coming in the past two games. … Niederreiter is tied with Haula for second on the Wild with three points (three assists) in this series. … Pominville leads Minnesota with four points in this series (three goals). All four of Pominville's points have come in the past two games. … Jamie Benn leads Dallas with six points (two goals) in this series. Benn has at least one point in each of the series' first four games. … Spezza had a goal and an assist in Game 1, a feat he replicated in Game 4.

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