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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Dallas

Fiala expected to make preseason debut when Wild faces division-rival Stars on Thursday

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars

Puck drop: 7:38 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North PLUS (Dallas feed), FOX Sports App

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

DALLAS -- The Wild will wrap up the road portion of its exhibition schedule on Thursday night when it faces the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. The contest marks one week until the start of the regular season, which begins for Minnesota next Thursday in Nashville. 

It also wraps up a five-day, team bonding trip bookended by a pair of preseason games against division rivals. The Wild lost 3-2 in a shootout in Colorado on Sunday. 

As the Wild enters the final weekend before the start of the regular campaign, the game Thursday marks another opportunity for players on the roster bubble to impress Wild coach Bruce Boudreau and GM Bill Guerin. 

Video: Dubnyk, Zucker with Ryan Carter before leaving CO

Forwards Nico Sturm and Gerry Mayhew, along with defensemen Louie Belpedio and Carson Soucy have had strong camps thus far. The same can be said of veteran Drew Stafford, who is in camp on a professional tryout. With final roster cutdowns looming, opportunities to impress are dwindling.

"We wanted to bring guys that are either going to be call ups or on our team here, we want everyone here to feel a part of it," Boudreau said of the team's bonding trip in Colorado the past three days. "The only thing is, you can only carry so many guys. But we still want them to feel a part of it."

Boudreau heaped praise on Sturm and Mayhew for the energy that both have brought to training camp, saying that has helped sustain the entire group and raised everyone's level of compete. He said he feels the Wild has practiced with more pace over the past couple of weeks than in any of his years prior here.

Tweet from @mnwildPR: Here is the #mnwild lineup for tonight���s preseason game at the ���@DallasStars��� at 7:30 pm on ���@KFAN1003��� and ���@fsnorth��� PLUS

"They're helping to push that pace, that's for sure," Boudreau said. 

Whether that's enough to earn a spot on the Opening Night roster or not is unknown, but at a minimum, both players are expected to make contributions at some point during the upcoming season.

Boudreau said Sturm in particular has reminded him of Jay Beagle, an 11-year NHL veteran currently of the Vancouver Canucks. Beagle played for Boudreau when he was coach of the Washington Capitals.

"Jay Beagle pushed every practice. He made every practice better by working harder than everyone else," Boudreau said. "He doesn't take anything off. Mayhew doesn't take anything off. They work and work and work."

On the injury front, the Wild sent defenseman Greg Pateryn home on Thursday. He's nursing a lower-body injury that has not improved enough to where he's able to play. 

Tweet from @jeffodom: Stars��� lineup tonight against the Wild:Hintz - Seguin - Radulov Robertson - Dickinson - Pavelski Cogliano - Faksa - Comeau Gurianov - Dowling - Caamano Heiskanen - HarleyOleksiak - SekeraHanley - FedunKhudobin (full game)#GoStars

Whether Pateryn's injury will heal in time for him to play Opening Night is uncertain, but it has potentially opened the door for Belpedio and Soucy as camp draws to a close.

Fellow defenseman Brad Hunt had back spasms earlier in the week, but was feeling good enough to be back on the ice for practice in Eagle, Colorado before the team departed for Texas on Wednesday afternoon.

The game Thursday will also be a big opportunity for veteran Victor Rask, who will center one of Minnesota's top lines in place of Eric Staal, who is getting the night off. Rask will play with Jason Zucker and Kevin Fiala, who will be making his preseason debut.

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