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Postgame Hat Trick: Stars 4, Wild 1

Seguin scores twice as Wild drops second consecutive exhibition game

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-1 loss against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Tuesday night:

1. Dallas scored 46 seconds into the game, but Minnesota assistant coach John Anderson was more steamed about the Wild's effort in period two.

Circle Pines native Tyler Pitlick, a former Centennial Cougar and Minnesota State Maverick, scored in the opening minute to give the Stars a 1-0 lead early. 

A parade to the penalty box ensued, with six infractions whistled on the two teams, including four on Minnesota. The Wild killed all four Stars power plays to keep it a one-goal game, but its shoddy play in the second ended up being the difference.

Dallas scored twice in the second; one by Tyler Seguin and the other 1:25 later by Jason Dickinson to take a 3-0 lead.

The Wild was routinely a step late and lost numerous puck battles, something that didn't sit well with Anderson or Wild forward Jason Zucker.

"When a bad thing happens early in the game, it takes a while to get going, but I thought we got going in the first," Anderson said. "In the second period ... if they beat us because they're better than us, that's one thing. But they outworked us in our zone in every aspect of the game. It was almost embarrassing, and that's the thing that really irked me about the game."

"That's not good enough," Zucker said. 

2. Zucker's goal 34 seconds into the third period ended a lengthy 5-on-5 dry spell for the Minnesota offense.

Prior to the goal, the Wild hadn't scored at even strength since Jared Spurgeon's tally at 9:20 of the second period in last Thursday's game against Winnipeg, a span of 171 minutes, 14 seconds. 

In between, the Wild scored three-straight power play tallies, two in a 2-1 win over Colorado on Saturday and one in a 5-1 defeat in Denver against the Avalanche the following night. 

"That's what we need to do, we need to make sure we're playing well 5-on-5," Zucker said. "You can't rely on the power play for a full 82-game season. Obviously, the power play needs to be scoring, the [penalty kill] needs to be doing their job. But 5-on-5 needs to be strong."

Anderson called the goal a "silver lining" in an otherwise tough night.

"We haven't really pushed our team together and that was a pretty good roster they threw at us. We have two games [left in preseason], we're probably going to put some pretty good rosters out there and get our players together. Hopefully we can get some continuity in our game."

Wild goaltender Alex Stalock, who made 33 saves in a rock solid effort, said Zucker was one of the players who stood up during the second intermission, then followed through moments later.

"He stepped up in the room, got the group going, then comes out on the ice and answers the bell," Stalock said. "He gave us life."

3. On that front, the Wild has just two of its seven preseason games remaining.

As Anderson said, he expects the Wild to start trimming a roster that began the day with 37 players and entered the game Tuesday with 35. Many of the players bound for Iowa at the beginning of the season will likely be assigned in the coming days, allowing Minnesota to really narrow its focus on the group that will be on the ice in Detroit a week from Thursday.

That includes the final two games of the exhibition season, Thursday against the St. Louis Blues in Kansas City and in the preseason finale against these same Stars in St. Paul on Saturday. 

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, who has missed the past few days while tending to family matters back home in Toronto, is expected to re-join the team before the game on Thursday. 

Slowly but surely, the lineup he wants for the opener will start coming together.

"I would think that's the definite plan. At some point, we have to get ready for the Detroit game," Anderson said. "I think it's time. To me, tryouts are over. Let's get on with it."


Loose Pucks

• Earlier in the day, Minnesota assigned defenseman Brennan Menell and goaltender Steve Michalek to Iowa of the American Hockey League.

• Seguin scored his second goal of the night into an empty net with 2:43 remaining in the game.

• Minnesota did not commit a penalty over the final 40 minutes of the game.

• The Wild finished 0-for-5 on the man advantage, including a pair of chances in the third period.

Mike Reilly and Joel Eriksson Ek each tallied assists on Zucker's goal.

• Defenseman Kyle Quincey led the Wild with four blocked shots.

• Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 32 of 33 shots, including 13 of 14 in the final period.


He Said It

"Luckily we came out better in the third period but by then the damage was done." -- Wild assistant coach John Anderson


Dan's Three Stars

* Tyler Seguin

** Jason Zucker

*** Kari Lehtonen

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