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Kelly Erickson's Five Takeaways at Dallas

by Kelly Erickson / Minnesota Wild

Following Wild games, occasionally Digital Media Coordinator Kelly Erickson will give the Five Takeaways that she remembers from the contest. Tonight, she looks back at a 4-0 loss against the Dallas Stars:

It felt like much like Saturday night in Saint Paul, with the Stars heavily outshooting the Wild, but tonight in Dallas, it was a different outcome. A very hungry Stars squad walked away with the 4-0 win.

The Wild is quite familiar with trying to break slumps. After a six-loss skid to end December, Minnesota turned things around and now has a 7-3 record in the month of January. They strung together a few gritty wins that led to dominating performances some nights, but there was enough confidence to turn things around.

Prior to tonight, the Stars were 1-8-1 on the month and were dive-bombing down the Central Division standings; on Jan. 1 they held a two-point advantage on the Wild, Tuesday morning the Stars trailed by ten. The Stars out-shot the Wild 35-19 Saturday night but fell 3-2 in OT. Tonight was a different story as those shots translated into more goals.

Midway through the third, Darcy Kuemper seemed to encapsulate how the Wild’s night was going.

As Jordie Benn streaked out of the box after a puck which Kuemper came out of net to play, Benn picked up the puck and skated towards the open net. Kuemper, caught out of the crease, tossed his stick on goal and the puck harmlessly slid through the crease. But the netminder’s move translated to a penalty shot for Benn, which he netted for the 4-0 lead.

It was just a bad break for the young netminder who had kept the Wild in the game for the majority of the night as he made countless incredible saves as Dallas peppered him with 36 shots.

Special teams were certainly an important feature in tonight’s game. The Wild went 0-for-3 on the night with just 4:54 on the man advantage.

But on the other side of the puck, the Stars had seven power play opportunities with 12:50 on the man advantage. As a result, Dallas notched two power play goals and the Wild struggled to gain much, if any, momentum.

Seemingly, the Wild couldn’t catch a break and its frustration turned into little, costly mistakes — including an “Abuse of officials” minor late in the second — that kept the Wild consistently on its heels. 

On a more positive note, the Wild’s lineup may receive a boost soon — maybe as soon as Thursday.

Zach Parise donned a contact sweater yesterday in practice and has looked strong in the handful of practices he’s had with the team since he was placed on Injured Reserve with a lower-body injury Dec. 28 . On his first full day with the Wild, he noted that his foot felt “much better” than it had a month ago, right before he went on IR.

After a game like tonight, the boost that Parise would certainly provide may just be what the Wild needs.

I’ll admit, Texas is a place I have never visited, but I do know how seriously they take their sports, specifically football. As Tim Riggins taught me, Texas forever.

So it’s only natural Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo would be featured on the big screen at tonight’s game. But the fun didn’t stop there for the QB. Sure he fielded a mixture of boos and cheers when he was shown, but he was also part of a “jersey upgrade” and was given a Stars sweater. Who knows, maybe if those jeers get too numerous he’ll trade his cleats in for skates.

Either way, he just needs to remember: clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

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