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Stars-Wild Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Monday, December 21

7:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (24-7-2) defeated Montreal, 6-2, at American Airlines Center Saturday. The Stars, who were coming off a loss to Calgary in their previous game, have yet to lose consecutive games this season.

“I think it’s confidence,” said Stars center Vernon Fiddler. “We know we can play the right way and when we do play the right way, we’re successful. When we steer away from that, we’re not so good. Over the course of the year, you’re going to have ups and downs, but at the end of the day you have to find a way to respond after a loss, and we’ve been doing that this year.”

The Stars are 7-2-2 over their past eleven games.

Monday’s game in Minnesota is the first of a back-to-back set against two Central Division foes before the holiday break. The Stars host Chicago on Tuesday.

“We run into Minnesota, and we played a hell of a game (rally from down 3-0 to win 4-3 OT on Nov. 28) to come away with two points at the end of the game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “You got to come back here on a back-to-back and face a team (Chicago) that’s sitting in your building that won the Stanley Cup. It’s going to be one heck of a challenge for us, but there’s some great storylines in that game, and I know that our guys will be jacked up. I don’t think that back-to-back’s going to have much effect on that game.”

Injuries: None

The Wild (17-8-6) had a three-game winning streak and nine-game points streak end with a 3-2 loss at Nashville Saturday. The Predators, who ended a three-game losing streak, built a 3-0 lead and then held off a late push by Minnesota.

“Tough start, that's for sure,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “The first period was not us, and they were ready. They were desperate and reeling a little bit here so we knew that they would be ready to go, and then we had a push at the end and we started to get some momentum off that. It was a little too late.”

The Wild are 6-1-3 in their past ten games.

Monday’s game kicks off a stretch of four straight at home for the Wild, including a back-to-back set against the Stars (Monday) and Montreal (Tuesday) before the holiday break.

Injuries: None

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

*The Stars are 2-0-0 (4 points) in the season series.

*The Wild are 0-0-2 (2 points) in the season series.

*Nov. 14, Minnesota at Dallas: Stars 3, Wild 2 (OT)

*Nov. 28, Dallas at Minnesota: Stars 4, Wild 3 (OT)

*The Stars are 3-2-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Wild are 7-4-4 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 11-3-2 on the road.

*The Wild are 12-3-1 at home.

*The Stars are 16-3-1 when scoring first and 8-4-1 when the opposition scores first.

*The Wild are 15-2-2 when scoring first and 2-6-4 when the opposition scores first.

*The Stars rank first in goal scoring in the NHL (3.42 per game).

*The Wild rank eighth in goals against (2.36 per game).

*The Stars rank third on the power play (22.7 percent).

*The Wild rank eighth on the power play (20.6 percent).

*Stars captain Jamie Benn leads the NHL with 22 goals.

*Benn and Stars center Tyler Seguin are tied for second in the NHL in points with 44.

*Mikko Koivu leads Minnesota with 29 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 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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