DALLAS -- With the start of the regular season just one week away, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau is looking for his lineup to start coming together. In that regard, Boudreau might have stumbled upon something on Thursday night when Minnesota upended the Dallas Stars 2-1 at American Airlines Center.
Joel Eriksson Ek has centered Jordan Greenway for much of the preseason, but for the first time, it was Marcus Foligno occupying the third spot on that line. The trio used their significant size and strength advantage to spend a bulk of their shifts in the offensive zone and scored Minnesota's first goal of the night a few seconds into the second period.
The fact that they were Boudreau's choice to start the period in the first place said a lot about what the coach thought of their play.
"They were dominant, I thought," Boudreau said. "I try to temper the way it is, but the line itself was really, really good. All big, all strong. They dominated the boards and this is a building where we have a very tough time."
Greenway, at 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, continued his strong preseason when he gathered in a quick pass from Eriksson Ek (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) near the top of the crease. He didn't miss on his try, scoring his first goal of the exhibition campaign and his second point; his hulking assist in Winnipeg was another memorable play.
Video: MIN@DAL: Greenway tips pass home from in front
The play started along the left-wing wall near the corner, when Greenway's big hit and Foligno's forecheck forced a Dallas turnover. Foligno, all 6-foot-3, 223 pounds of him, skated behind the net with the puck and passed to Eriksson Ek near the right post. He saw Greenway moving to the top of the crease and hit his stick right on the tape for a quick re-direction into the goal.
The play was the perfect complement of overwhelming power and creative skill.
"We've got three big bodies, so we really wanted to get the puck in deep, work their defensemen and create turnovers," Greenway said. "That's what we did."
The line of Greenway, Eriksson Ek and Foligno can continue to have success with a rather simple recipe: Get pucks deep and use their size to exhaust teams on the forecheck.
That was the game plan on Thursday and will likely be for however long Boudreau keeps the line together, which he indicated he will do after the game.
"If we continue to do that, I think we'll keep having the success we did tonight," Greenway said. "I think our size is definitely our line's biggest asset. We went to the net really well ... we did a lot of things really well and I think that's why, for the most part, we stayed out of our zone and in their zone."
Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 2, Stars 1
Video: Greenway, Zucker lead Wild past Stars