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Stars-Wild Game 6 Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Sunday, April 24

2:00 p.m.


Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars will get a second shot at closing out the series against Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center Sunday afternoon. The Stars had a 4-3 lead late in Friday’s game in Dallas, but Minnesota rallied for a 5-4 win, scoring with 3:09 left in regulation to tie and then winning it 4:55 into overtime to cut Dallas’ series lead to 3-2.

“You try to put whatever’s happened, good or bad, behind you as quick as you can and worry about what’s coming down the road,” said Stars forward Patrick Sharp. “And in our case that’s a big Game 6 in a tough building against a good team, so we’re excited to get on the plane, go in there and play.”

“We’ve got another chance. It’s not easy to close out teams,” said Stars center Cody Eakin. “We had a few mistakes and gave up some opportunities that they were able to score. We kind of came out flat the last game, but another chance to put them away.”

The Stars split two games in Minnesota earlier in the series, losing Game 3 and then winning Game 4.

Stars forward Ales Hemsky did not practice Saturday. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it was a maintenance day for Hemsky. Tyler Seguin (lower body) remains out.

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

The Wild avoided elimination with Friday’s overtime win and pushed the series back to Minnesota and Xcel Energy Center for a Game 6.

“We wanted to come back for our fans. They deserve this game,” said Wild coach John Torchetti. “We should have kept [the series] 2-2 but we didn’t. The [Stars] did a fantastic job in Game 4 in our building, and they got a win. We had to come back here [to Dallas] and get a win. I’m sure our fans will be backing us big time. I’m looking forward to the game.”

“After [Friday’s] game it was a good feeling,” said Wild captain Mikko Koivu, who scored the game-tying and game-winning goals. “But I think we still recognize that there’s a lot of work ahead of us to be where we want to be.”

Wild forward Thomas Vanek, who has missed the first five games of the series with an upper-body injury, skated with the team Saturday but is not expected to play Sunday.

Injuries: LW Thomas Vanek (upper body) and LW Zach Parise (upper body) are out.

*Since Dallas won the first game of the series, 4-0, the next four games have been tight. How tight? Over the past four games in the series, the Wild have outscored the Stars 13-12. Shots on goal are 108-105 in favor of Dallas. The Stars are 2-11 on the power play. The Wild are 2-10 on the power play.

*The Stars were 4-1-0 in afternoon games this season, outscoring their opponents 18-11.

*The Wild were 5-3-0 in afternoon games, outscoring their opponents 23-17.

*The Stars haven’t lost consecutive games since going 0-3-1 from Feb. 25 to Mar. 1.

*Through Friday’s games, Minnesota led the NHL with 118 blocked shots this postseason.

*Jamie Benn leads the Stars in scoring with 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists).

*Jason Pominville leads the Wild in scoring with 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists).

Game 1 – Thu., April 14: Dallas 4, Minnesota 0

Game 2 – Sat., April 16: Dallas 2, Minnesota 1

Game 3 – Mon., April 18: Minnesota 5, Dallas 3

Game 4 – Wed., April 20: Dallas 3, Minnesota 2

Game 5 – Fri., April 22: Minnesota 5, Dallas 4 (OT)

Game 6 – Sun., April 24: Dallas at Minnesota, 2 p.m.

Game 7 – Tue., April 26: Minnesota at Dallas, TBD (if necessary)

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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