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Stars-Wild Game 2 Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Saturday, April 16

7:00 p.m.

TV: FOX Sports Southwest/NBCSN, Sportsnet/TVA Sports

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars are coming off an impressive performance on Thursday, shutting out the Wild, 4-0, at American Airlines Center to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“I thought our defensive play was pretty good. Anytime you don’t give up any goals it is a positive. Our goalie [Kari Lehtonen] played great, and I thought we played a great team game,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn, who recorded one goal and two assists. “It’s just one game though and we’ve got to back it up [Saturday] night.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he sees one area where the Stars can improve.

“I’d like to see a little bit better execution when it comes to the offensive side,” Ruff said. “I thought it looked like we had a little bit of jitters when the game started. I thought our patience was good, our play away from the puck was good, but I think we can improve that part of our game.”

The Stars held an optional skate in Frisco on Friday. C Tyler Seguin (Achilles) took part in the practice and said he feels ready to return after missing the final ten regular season games and Thursday’s playoff opener. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said a decision on Seguin will come Saturday.

“[We’ll] see where he’s at after the workout today. If he’s good, there’s a good chance we’ll put him in,” Ruff said after Friday’s practice.

Injuries: C Tyler Seguin (Achilles) is questionable. RW Brett Ritchie (lower body) is out.

A focus for Minnesota heading into Saturday is to generate some offense. They had very few chances in Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Stars.

“The biggest thing is we have to get more pucks to the net, and shoot from everywhere and get pucks behind their D,” said Wild forward Nino Niederreiter. “We did a little too many turnovers around the blue line, and we just have to sharpen up some of those little things.”

Wild coach John Torchetti went over the game on video.

“I think they understood the message, and I think that we beat ourselves, and that was a game that maybe should have been 1-0 going into the third,” Torchetti said. “First goal bothers me still now until the game starts tomorrow night. We had puck possession on three of the goals, and we didn’t manage it well.”

Center Erik Haula, who missed Thursday’s series opener with a lower-body injury, practiced Friday at American Airlines Center. Torchetti said Haula will be a game-day decision, but Haula said he is ready to go.

“I’m excited. It’s the best time of the year,” Haula said. “We’re going to get together as a team today and be ready to go tomorrow. It’s a challenge. We came here for a split, and I think everyone should just be positive and create a positive environment of being able to accomplish the goal.”

Injury update: C Erik Haula (lower body) is questionable. LW Zach Parise (upper body) and LW Thomas Vanek (upper body) are out.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen has won seven of his past eight starts, including regular season and playoffs, posting a 1.76 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and two shutouts.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has registered points in six of his seven career playoff games (five goals, three assists).

*The Stars are 10-2-0 in their past 12 games including regular season and playoffs.

*The Wild have lost six straight games including regular season and playoffs.

*The Wild have lost five straight playoff games dating back to last season.

Thu., April 14: Dallas 4, Minnesota 0

Sat., April 16: Minnesota at Dallas, 7:00 p.m.

Mon., April 18: Dallas at Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

Wed., April 20: Dallas at Minnesota, 8:30

*Fri., April 22: Minnesota at Dallas, TBD

*Sun., April 24: Dallas at Minnesota, TBD

*Tue., April 26: Minnesota at Dallas, TBD

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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