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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 7, Stars 0

Wild puts exclamation point on Hockey Day Minnesota with rout of division-rival Stars in St. Paul

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /'s Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 7-0 win against the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday night:

1. The Wild capped Hockey Day Minnesota in style.

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise either. Minnesota improved to 11-2-1 at the tail end of the state's unofficial hockey holiday. 

After scoring twice in the first period to take a two-goal lead into intermission, all on the backs of defensemen, the Wild opened the game up with a pair of goals in a 33-second span of the second. 

Jason Zucker made it 3-0 at 3:38 with the Wild on a power play, banking the puck through the wickets of Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin via a perfect redirection by defenseman Andrej Sekera.

On the next shift, Ryan Donato scored one of the prettiest goals you'll ever see after Ryan Hartman intercepted a pass and fed it to the former Harvard star. Donato dangled then opened Khudobin with some silky moves in tight before roofing a backhander.

Video: DAL@MIN: Donato buries beautiful backhand goal

That ended Khudobin's evening. 

Mats Zuccarello welcomed Ben Bishop to the game late in the period by putting back a rebound of a Zucker shot for his 12th goal of the season.

2. The turning point of the game came early.

Just past the halfway point of the first period, Dallas' Denis Gurianov busted loose for a clean breakaway. Stalock made a huge skate save, then denied Gurianov again on a rebound try. 

No more than 15 seconds later, the puck was in the other net after the Wild scored in transition on a blast by defenseman Jared Spurgeon.

Video: DAL@MIN: Spurgeon unloads one-timer past Khudobin

In a game the Wild would go on to win in a runaway, there is no doubt that this was the moment in the game that defined the ultimate outcome. Dallas scores here and it's a completely different contest.

Instead, Stalock's big save kickstarted the Wild's blowout. 

3. Rest is a weapon.

Tough to argue, isn't it? After cancelling practice on Wednesday following a dud in Pittsburgh, the Wild responded with a strong game and a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

With suboptimal weather in the Twin Cities on Friday night and early Saturday, coach Bruce Boudreau decided to cancel the Wild's morning skate on Saturday. 

Minnesota is scheduled to practice on Sunday at TRIA Rink ahead of a game back here Monday night against the Florida Panthers. Have to go back to the well again, don't you?

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