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Wild go for sweep of Stars

by Deborah Francisco

WILD (20-10-2) at STARS (15-14-3)

TV: FS-Wisconsin, FS-North+, FS-Southwest

Last 10: Minnesota 9-1-0, Dallas 4-5-1

Season series: It's the third and final contest between the Wild and Stars this season. Minnesota is looking to sweep the season series. In their first meeting on Jan. 20 the Wild prevailed 1-0 and then won 7-4 in Dallas on Monday.

Big story: The Wild are looking for their eighth straight win and 10th in 11 games as they visit American Airlines Center for the second time in five days.

Team Scope:

Wild: Things continue to go Minnesota's way as the Wild look to match a franchise record for victories in a month. Minnesota is coming off of a come-from-behind overtime win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday. Ryan Suter tied the score at 3-3 with 54.3 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, and Mikko Koivu scored the game-winning goal in the 4-3 victory.

"It's great that we found a way to win, and I love the way certain individuals stepped up when the game was on the line, but having said that, I think we do recognize that we have to be better than that," coach Mike Yeo said Thursday. "You don't want to play that type of game too often, and you can't play that type of game and expect the results that we got last night."

Not only is the Wild 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, they're 14-4-0 in their past 18 and 16-5-1 since Feb. 9.

The Wild recalled goalie Matt Hackett from the Houston Aeros of the AHL on Friday. Hackett has not appeared in a game with the Wild yet this season, but he went 3-6-0 last season when he also set an NHL record for the longest shutout streak to start a career at 102:48.

Stars: The Stars know they have to tighten their defense and get better goaltending to avenge Monday's loss, in which Dallas allowed a season-high seven goals.

"I didn't think [Monday] was [goaltender Kari Lehtonen's] strongest game," coach Glen Gulutzan. "He made some real good saves because he was taking in a lot, but that's what happens when you give your goalie too much. It was too much. I think he certainly calmed down in the third, but it was a lot to handle. A lot of zone time."

Lehtonen made 35 saves in the losing effort - his 12th straight start. The Stars allowed three goals in the second, tied the game at 4-4 early in the third, then allowed three unanswered goals.

Who's hot: Koivu had a goal and an assist in each of the Wild's two games this week. He has three goals and five assists during a four-game points streak. … Jaromir Jagr has goals in each of Dallas' past four games and has seven points in that span.

Injury report: Minnesota goalie Josh Harding (illness) is day-to-day but participated in an optional skate on Thursday… Stars' center Ryan Garbutt (hand) is day-to-day.

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