DALLAS – Forward Erik Haula is expected to make his 2016 Stanley Cup Playoff debut on Saturday when the Minnesota Wild plays the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of its best-of-7 series.
The Wild trails 1-0, after losing Game 1 on Thursday, 4-0.
"He gives us a little more offense since Zach [Parise] is out and [Thomas Vanek] is out, and we want to put a little bit of power on one line," interim Head Coach John Torchetti said. "They did a good job with their matchup on it last game and we’ll have to do a better job with ours going into tonight’s game.”
Devan Dubnyk is also expected to start in goal for Minnesota. He did not practice on Friday, with what Torchetti called a maintenance day.
After getting outshot 14-2 in the first period on Thursday, committing three minor penalties and feeling it was careless with the puck in the neutral zone, the Wild is hoping to correct those areas of its game and even this series before it shifts back to Minnesota on Monday.
Torchetti touched on all three of those components of the Wild's game in a pregame meeting on Saturday. It started with a film session, where he bemoaned how often Minnesota turned the puck over in Game 1, particularly in the neutral zone.
"It was the number one thing," Torchetti said. "Turnovers were one for me, and we showed plenty of that, just being a little more patient with the puck in the offensive zone.
"That led to our frustration, they did a really good job and we did a really good job of crowding for them to make it easier to defend us."
Torchetti refers to those sequences as 'TWIG' plays: Take what is given. It's an acronym he's drilling into his players, hoping they can identify situations and quickly make the appropriate read.
"They took advantage of us turning pucks over at the blue line, so those twiggy plays that [Torchetti] was talking about are a big part tonight," Chris Porter said. "We have to get pucks in deep and be physical on their D. We didn't put much that much pressure on them last game, and we need to do that tonight."
The other two items on Torchetti's morning list was the Wild's lack of intensity and discipline.
Minnesota was shorthanded six times in Game 1, and felt it needed more jump to its start that saw a lopsided difference in shot and shot-attempt totals.
"Definitely film helped, and everyone is feeling good, and a little more energy tonight coming into it," Charlie Coyle said. "After the game, we knew how we played, and what we needed to do to be much better than that."
Stars forward Tyler Seguin is a game-time decision, according to Head Coach Lindy Ruff. Seguin took part in Dallas' morning skate, and has been back on the ice this week for the first time since lacerating his Achilles in a game March 17.
"I feel like I am ready to play, but it is going to a coach’s decision," Seguin said. "I am prepared and ready."
Here is the Wild's projected lineup:
Mikael Granlund – Mikko Koivu – David Jones
Jason Zucker – Charlie Coyle – Justin Fontaine
Nino Niederreiter – Erik Haula – Jason Pominville
Ryan Carter – Jarret Stoll – Chris Porter
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella – Jonas Brodin
Nate Prosser – Matt Dumba
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