Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-1 loss against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday night:
1. In its first game back from the All-Star break, the Wild nearly mustered a point.
It was rough in the early going, but Minnesota managed to stay within striking distance all night. After a scoreless first, Andrew Cogliano scored his first goal in a Stars uniform 3:12 into the second period.
Five minutes later, Brad Hunt scored his first in a Wild uniform.
It wasn't until the latter minutes of the third period when Dallas scored the difference-making goal, when Tyler Seguin's slapper found its way through Devan Dubnyk's five hole, giving the Stars a lead it wouldn't relinquish with just under eight minutes to play.
The loss ended Minnesota's three-game winning streak and vaulted the Stars into third place in the Central Division, ahead of the Wild by a single point.
Minnesota maintains a hold on the first wild card position in the Western Conference and will have no time to grumble about the defeat: It's back in action tomorrow night in St. Paul in a nationally-televised contest against the Chicago Blackhawks.
2. Following an eight-day layoff, the Wild knew it would likely need to weather an early storm.
Especially against a Dallas team that played a game on Wednesday, Minnesota expected the first 20 to potentially be a rough one. Luckily for the Wild, its goaltender was a part of All-Star weekend, so his layoff was significantly shorter than everyone else's.
Video: MIN@DAL: Dubnyk denies Radulov with daring poke check
Dubnyk did his part, stopping Tyler Seguin on a tricky little one-timer, then stoning Roope Hintz moments later. Jamie Benn was Dubnyk's next victim, as the Stars captain got alone in tight only to see his shot turned away by the three-time All-Star.
Dallas outshot the Wild 11-5 in the first period, but Minnesota came away even thanks to an 11-save performance from Dubnyk.
His excellence continued in the second, with another robbery of Seguin and some glove work on fellow All-Star Miro Heiskanen. Dubnyk finished the contest with 29 saves overall.
3. The Wild's power-play specialist got on the board for the first time in the Forest Green and Iron Range Red.
Hunt, playing his second game in a Wild uniform, tallied his first goal and first point for the team midway through the second period.
Video: MIN@DAL: Hunt powers one-timer past Bishop for PPG
Big shocker: It came on the power play.
The former Bemidji State Beaver has made a habit of putting up solid points with the man advantage: Including his time in Vegas this season, Hunt now has eight points in 15 games. Five of those points have come with the extra attacker.
Then there is this gem of a stat from Wild PR maven Megan Kogut:
In 93 NHL games, Hunt has 35 points, with 20 of them coming on the power play. He has the potential to be a nice weapon for Minnesota as the stretch run continues, especially if he can find a way to stay in the lineup.