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Stars-Wild Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars
Saturday, January 14
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (18-17-8) overcame a 2-1 first-period deficit and defeated Detroit, 5-2, at American Airlines Center Thursday. Five different Dallas players scored goals, eleven players registered points, and Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots. The Stars got people and pucks to the net, scoring two goals off tip-ins, one off a rebound and another that deflected in off traffic.

"It was a couple of greasy ones today, but that is how you score most of the goals today," said Stars defenseman John Klingberg, who scored on a rebound. "You have to step up there and try to get the puck in there because that is how you score goals nowadays. It's a skill game, but you have to be able to score those goals to win."

The Stars have picked up points in six of their past seven home games (4-1-2).

Dallas captain Jamie Benn returned to the lineup Thursday after missing the previous four games with a foot injury.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said defenseman Jamie Oleksiak is expected to miss 3-6 weeks with the hand injury he suffered in Tuesday's game at Anaheim.

Saturday's game wraps up a two-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: D Jamie Oleksiak (hand), C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) and RW Ales Hemsky (hip) are on injured reserve.

About the Wild

The Wild (26-9-5) won 7-1 over Montreal in St. Paul Saturday. Minnesota grabbed an early 1-0 lead and then blew the game open with three goals in the second period. The Wild tacked on three more in the third against the Canadiens and goaltender Carey Price.

"Everybody has nights that aren't their best, and I think as the game got going, we got going, and they looked a little more tired," said Wild forward Eric Staal, who had one goal and two assists. "A goalie can only do so much. It's still a good thing to feel good about scoring on him because it doesn't happen very often."

Fourteen players registered points for Minnesota, which improved to 15-1-1 in its past 17 games and won for the ninth time in its past ten games at home (9-1-0).

Saturday's game kicks off a weekend back-to-back for the Wild, who play at Dallas Saturday and then at Chicago on Sunday.

Injuries: D Victor Bartley (arm) is on injured reserve.

Season Series

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

*The Stars are 1-1-0 vs. the Wild.

*The Wild are 1-0-1 vs. the Stars.

*Oct. 29, at Minnesota: Wild 4, Stars 0
*Nov. 21, at Dallas: Stars 3, Wild 2 (OT)

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 12-6-4 at home including 8-3-2 in their past 13.

*The Wild are 12-5-5 on the road including 8-0-2 in their past 10.

*The Stars are 8-8-3 vs. the Central Division.

*The Wild are 7-3-2 vs. the Central Division.

*The Wild rank fourth in the league in goals for (3.22/game) and second in goals against (2.10/game).

*The Stars have scored three goals or more in seven of their past nine games and are averaging 3.11 goals per game during that stretch.

*Since Dec. 3, the Stars rank seventh in the NHL in goals against at 2.44 per game.

*The Wild have scored a power-play goal in five straight games and are 6-17 on the power play during that stretch.

*The Stars have surrendered a power-play goal in six straight games, allowing 10 power play goals on 20 shorthanded opportunities during that stretch.

*Stars defenseman John Klingberg has registered 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in his past 11 games.

*Wild forward Eric Staal has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) during a 4-game points streak.

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 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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