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Stars-Wild Game 5 Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Friday, April 22

8:30 p.m.

TV: FOX Sports Southwest, NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars took a 3-1 series lead with Wednesday’s 3-2 victory in Minnesota. The Stars will get their first chance to close out the series Friday night at American Airlines Center. All wins in a series are tough, especially the last one.

“It’s tough [to close out a series],” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ve had these guys backed in a corner. We had them backed in a corner after a 2-0 lead and they gave us their best game. I thought again last night was a real tough game. We have to keep our emotions in check with being in front of our home crowd and continue to play our game.”

Said Stars defenseman Jason Demers: “The last game is always the hardest. We’ve got them backed into a corner now; they are must-wins. It’s the same thing for us. We’ve got to win this game; we don’t want to go back there.”

The Stars are expecting a shot of energy from the home crowd, which will be looking to cheer the Stars to their first playoff series win since 2008.

“[Expect a] lot of energy, a lot of excitement and much like the first two games, so it’s going to be exciting for us as players to play in front of them,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “I’m sure it’s going to be exciting for them, and hopefully, we can close it out.”

Stars forward Tyler Seguin will miss a third straight game with an issue related to his previous Achilles tendon injury.

Injuries: C Tyler Seguin (lower body) is out.

With Wednesday’s loss to the Stars, the Wild are on the brink of elimination. The Wild can’t win three games in one night, so they are hoping to get a win Friday in Game 5 and get the series back to Minnesota for a Game 6.

“We have belief in our locker room. There’s no doubt there,” said Wild forward Chris Porter. “We’ve just got to continue to do what we’ve done here in [Games] 2, 3, 4. Hopefully, bring our best foot forward in 5. But it’s do or die obviously. There’s nothing to say before. We’ve got to bring the game back here in front of our home fans and hopefully then take that as well.”

Although his team is down 3-1 in the series, Wild coach John Torchetti sees positives in the way his team has played the past three games in the series.

“I like the way we’re playing. We just have to find a way to get back home. That’s the bottom line. We have to find a way to get back home,” Torchetti said. “We keep playing the same way, have the right mindset, keep playing for each other, just push each other even more, because I know there is another level this team can get.”

Injuries: LW Thomas Vanek (upper body) is day to day. LW Zach Parise (upper body) is week to week.

*The Stars have outscored the Wild 8-4 during five-on-five play in the series.

*The Stars are 3-15 (20.0 percent) on the power play in the series.

*The Wild are 2-12 (16.7 percent) on the power play in the series.

*The Stars are averaging 24.8 shots per game, which ranks last in the playoffs.

*The Stars’ 12.1 team shooting percentage is tops in the playoffs.

*The Stars rank fifth in team save percentage in the playoffs (.922).

Thu., April 14: Dallas 4, Minnesota 0

Sat., April 16: Dallas 2, Minnesota 1

Mon., April 18: Minnesota 5, Dallas 3

Wed., April 20: Dallas 3, Minnesota 2

Fri., April 22: Minnesota at Dallas, 8:30

*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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