Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
Saturday, January 18
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
About the Stars
The Stars (21-19-7) are coming off a 4-2 loss to Boston at American Airlines Center Thursday night. It was the seventh loss in the last eight games for the Stars.
“We’re trying to improve on certain aspects of the game and trying to get more battle in our game. Sometimes you fall a little short,” said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “We had too many turnovers and we gave up too many odd-man rushes. It’s not going to win you hockey games.”
Saturday’s game against Minnesota opens a two-game road trip for the Stars. They play at Nashville on Monday. The Stars have two games in a four-day span against Minnesota, which holds the last playoff spot in the Western Conference and is eight points ahead of Dallas.
“It’s huge. Four point games, all of them,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “Especially playing Minnesota twice in four days, we want to set the tone in the first game. I think we need to gain some of the ground that we lost in [the six-game losing streak]. We understand the importance of these games and what this two-game road trip will mean for us.”
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar and forward Ray Whitney did not practice Friday due to injuries. Both are questionable for Saturday. D Aaron Rome, who has missed the last three games with a lower body injury, has been cleared to return.
Injuries: D Aaron Rome is probable. D Sergei Gonchar (lower body) and F Ray Whitney (upper body) are questionable. D Stephane Robidas (leg) is out.
About the Wild
The Wild (26-19-5) defeated Edmonton, 4-1, Thursday night in St. Paul. The win came in the 1,000th game in franchise history. Defenseman Nate Prosser late in the second period to snap a 1-1 tie, and that goal held up as the game winner for the Wild, who have won six of their last eight games.
“Our locker room is pretty confident right now,” Prosser said. “We needed a bounce back game [after a 3-0 loss to Ottawa) and we got it. A lot of the guys are feeling good about their games right now, and they should. Our D corps is playing well and our goalies are playing well. It’s a good feeling right now in our locker room.”
The Wild sit in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They have a four point lead over Phoenix and an eight point lead over Dallas, which they play in their next two games.
“We were better tonight, but I still think there is another level. That has to be our mindset,” said Wild coach Mike Yeo. “It doesn’t matter that we won tonight, our next game is a big one. We have to come to the rink [Friday] and our goal has to be to get better.”
Injuries: LW Zach Parise (foot), C Mikko Koivu (ankle), G Josh Harding (ill) and D Jared Spurgeon (lower body) are out.
*This is the second of four meetings between the Stars and Wild this season.
*The Stars are 0-1-0 in the season series and the Wild are 1-0-0.
*October 12, Dallas at Minnesota: Wild 5, Stars 1
*The Stars are 1-7-0 over their last eight games.
*The Wild are 6-2-0 over their last eight games.
*The Wild are 3-4-0 in their last seven home games.
*The Stars are 2-5-2 in their last nine road games.
*The Wild have scored at least four goals in seven of their last 11 games, matching their total through the first 39 games.
*The Stars have allowed four goals or more in five of their last eight games.
*The Stars are 5-7-4 vs. the Central Division.
*The Wild are 9-7-1 vs. the Central Division.
*Saturday marks the eighth annual Wells Fargo Hockey Day Minnesota on FOX Sports North. Minnesota is 5-1-1 all-time on Hockey Day Minnesota, including four straight wins.
*Stars forward Erik Cole has seven goals in the last 11 games.
*Wild forward Jason Zucker has four goals in eight games since being recalled from Iowa of the AHL on Jan. 1.
*Tyler Seguin leads Dallas in goals (21) and points (44).
*Jason Pominville leads the Wild with 19 goals. Mikko Koivu (injured) leads Minnesota with 35 points.
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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.