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Stars-Wild Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
Saturday, October 29
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (3-3-1) lost 4-1 at Winnipeg Thursday. The Stars fell behind 1-0 just 15 seconds into the game, were down 2-0 after one period and could never rally. The Stars were 1-6 on the power play and missed on a five-on-three chance and the Jets were 2-7 on the power play and cashed in on their five-on-three opportunity.

"I thought we skated really well. Special teams, they had the edge, and that was the difference in the game," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Five-on-five we created some good opportunities, but we made a couple mistakes and one big mistake that cost us."

RW Jiri Hudler (illness) and C Jason Spezza (lower body) both practiced Friday. Hudler appears close to returning while the status of Spezza is still up in the air.

"I would anticipate Hudler playing," Ruff said. "Spezza we will just wait and see. He made it through practice, which was just a light one. We'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Video: Stars looking to clean up their game

Spezza has missed the past two games and Hudler has missed the past five.

Saturday's game is the second of three straight on the road for the Stars.

Injuries: RW Jiri Hudler (illness) is probable. C Jason Spezza (lower body) is questionable. RW Ales Hemsky (groin), RW Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms), C Cody Eakin (knee) and C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) are on injured reserve.

About the Wild

The Wild (5-2-1) are coming off a 4-0 win at Buffalo on Thursday. Devan Dubnyk stopped 38 shots, including 19 in the second period, for his second consecutive shutout. He stopped 27 shots in a 5-0 victory at Boston on Tuesday.

"Hopefully he can keep that going," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter told media after the game. "He's been playing pretty darn good the last couple games."

The Wild went 2-1-1 on a four-game road trip.

Defenseman Marco Scandella, who left Thursday's game with a lower-body injury, did not practice Friday. He is day to day.

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who has been out four games with an upper-body injury, is expected to return to the lineup Saturday.

The Wild placed F Teemu Pulkkinen on waivers Friday.

Saturday's game is the first of a two-game homestand for Minnesota.

Injuries: D Marco Scandella (lower body) is day to day. C Erik Haula (lower body) is out.

Season Series

*This is the first of five meetings between the Stars and Wild this season.

*The Stars were 4-1-0 (8 points) vs. Minnesota last season.

*The Wild were 1-1-3 (5 points) vs. Dallas last season.

*Four of the last five games between the Stars and Wild have been decided by one goal, three of them in overtime.

Statistical Tidbits

*The Wild are riding a team shutout streak of 121:43.

*The Stars are 2-2-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Wild are 1-1-0 vs. the Central Division.

*Minnesota ranks fourth in the league in goals for (3.50/game).

*Dallas is tied for 21st in goals for (2.57/game).

*The Wild are tied for sixth in goals against (2.38/game).

*The Stars are tied for 17th in goals against (3.14/game). 

*Minnesota ranks first in penalty killing at 95.6 percent (22-23).

*The Stars rank 20th in penalty killing at 76.7 percent (23-30).

*The Stars are tied for 20th on the power play at 16.1 percent (5-31).

*The Wild rank 27th on the power play at 10.7 percent (3-28).

*C Tyler Seguin leads Dallas in scoring with 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists).

*D Ryan Suter leads Minnesota in scoring with 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists).

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com 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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