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Stars-Wild Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars

Saturday, March 8
7:30 p.m. (Modano ceremony 6 p.m.)
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (30-23-10) are coming off a 6-1 win over Vancouver Thursday night at American Airlines Center. Tyler Seguin scored three goals and assisted on two others for the Stars, who built a 3-0 lead 12 minutes into the game.

“Well, we had that [slow start] in Columbus. That was a big message before tonight’s game, was our starts,” said Seguin. “First game since the trade deadline and both sides had some acquistions. We wanted to come out hard and I thought we did that.”

The Stars, who are 9-3-2 over their last 14 games, enter Saturday’s game one point ahead of Phoenix in the race for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Minnesota holds the first wild card spot and is five points ahead of the Stars.

“They’re a gifted team when it comes to line structure and the number of players who can hurt you, up front,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of the Wild. “At the same time, they reached a point in their season when they decided that playing a better game defensively, a more structured game defensively, was going to be advantageous. So watching their games, they are giving up less, less of the big opportunities, and I think that’s where we hit a turning point too.”

The Stars will retire Mike Modano’s No. 9 prior to Saturday night’s game.

Injuries: None

About the Wild

The Wild (34-21-7) won their fifth straight game, defeating Calgary 3-2 in St. Paul on Monday. It wasn’t pretty, but it gave the Wild a 3-0-0 mark since the Olympic break.

“I don't think we were at our best. I don't think we played at a level we need to play," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "But it doesn't matter when you look back at the score. We won the game and that's what's important."

The Wild will have had four days between games. Their lineup looks a little different after acquiring Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from Buffalo in exchange for F Torrey Mitchell and second-round selections in the 2014 and 2016 NHL Drafts.

Coach Mike Yeo has tweaked his lines at practice this week as the team prepares to come to Dallas, where the Wild are 1-13-5 over the last 19 games.

“We’re going to a building that we haven’t performed too well in,” Yeo told the Wild’s official site. ”You add to that that we’re playing a Dallas team that I think is very strong and a team that is playing very well right now. That’s going to be an intense game, a good hard-fought game. We’re going to have to fight for everything out there. That’s probably what we need right now to be honest with you, as far as pushing our group to try and get to the next level.”

The Wild play this one game on the road and then head back to Minnesota for a four-game homestand.

Injuries: G Josh Harding (illness) and LW Jason Zucker (lower body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the fourth and final meeting between the Stars and Wild this season.

*The Stars are 1-1-1 in the season series.

*The Wild are 2-1-0 in the season series.

*Oct. 12, Dallas at Minnesota: Wild 5, Stars 1

*Jan. 18, Dallas at Minnesota: Wild 3, Stars 2 (OT)

*Jan. 21, Minnesota at Dallas: Stars 4, Wild 0

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 9-3-2 in their last 14 games.

*The Wild are 9-3-2 in their last 14 games.

*The Stars are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games at home.

*The Wild are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games on the road.

*The Stars have allowed 24 goals over the last 14 games for an average of 1.71 per game.

*The Wild have allowed six goals over their last five games (1.20 per game).

*The Stars have scored four power play goals over the last three games, going 4-14 (28.6 percent) during that stretch.

*The Wild are 19-19 on the penalty kill over their last seven games.

*Minnesota forward Matt Moulson, who has played for the Islanders and Sabres this season, has four points (two goals, two assists) in two games against the Stars this season. Moulson has seven goals in his last five games against the Stars.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his last six games.

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (28) and points (63).

* Jason Pominville leads the Wild in goals (22) and points (42).

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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