Who: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT
Watch: Wild.com, FOX Sports GO (both restricted to FOX Sports North's broadcast area)
Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM, Wild Radio Network
Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter
At the rink
At long last, the Wild will complete its preseason docket at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday, afterward setting course for Detroit and the regular season opener on Thursday night.
It's been a long two weeks for Minnesota and the whole league, as teams have whittled down their rosters.
For the Wild, that's meant two separate practice groups for a bulk of camp. That's been scrapped over the past handful of days as the club has gotten down to a group more like the one that will play tonight and next week against the Red Wings.
"Camp seems long and we had a lot of bodies at the start," said Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. "But this is a big game for us to get back to the way we want to play and start to tighten things up for the regular season."
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau will ice a lineup that could be just a player or two different from his Opening Night group.
If Zach Parise can get cleared for contact and put in a couple days of full practice next week, he could be in against the Wings. Perhaps Daniel Winnik makes the club and earns a role on the fourth line. But other than those two, the group on the ice tonight is likely to be the one to start the season on Thursday.
Video: Wild Pregame vs Dallas
"I just want to see where our systems are on how we're playing them and hoping that there's no confusion in assignments, whether it's [power play] or [penalty killing]," Boudreau said. "If we see that, we'll be happy about that."
Winnik, who is on a professional tryout, will not play tonight as the Wild gets one more look at rookie forward Luke Kunin. Boudreau was quick to point out that it wasn't a punishment of any sorts for Winnik, simply that the club wants a look at the younger player.
"I pulled him aside and I talked to him and said, 'Danny, you've done great. I know exactly how you play. We just want to look at a couple of the young kids,'" Boudreau said. "So it's not like he would have to come in here and play great to either make the team or not make the team."
As teams get down to their final rosters and salary cap situations become more clear, it's likely Winnik will find a home somewhere. If it's going to happen with the Wild, it's simply a matter of trying to make the dollars and cents work.
"It's known that we don't have a lot of money left, but if we want to sign a guy, we can sign a guy," Boudreau said.
"I know everyone has to get down to their roster, so we'll just see what happens," Winnik said.
Here are the projected lineups:
Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund
Marcus Foligno - Joel Eriksson Ek - Chris Stewart
Tyler Ennis - Matt Cullen - Luke Kunin
Ryan Suter - Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin - Jared Spurgeon
Mike Reilly - Kyle Quincey
Remi Elie -- Jason Spezza -- Brett Ritchie
Antoine Roussel -- Martin Hanzal -- Devin Shore
Gemel Smith -- Radek Faksa -- Tyler Pitlick
Jason Dickinson -- Roope Hintz -- Adam Cracknell
Marc Methot -- Jamie Oleksiak
Esa Lindell -- Julius Honka
Dan Hamhuis -- Stephen Johns
Like the Wild, the Stars wrap up their preseason schedule on Saturday night. It's the second time this week the teams have played each other in an exhibition game, with the Stars winning 4-1 Tuesday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. That game marked the first-ever preseason meeting between the clubs and was the Stars' penultimate game of the exhibition season.
The Wild is expected to dress a lineup that will be close to its Opening Night lineup. The only "regular" not expected to play is forward Zach Parise, who is out with lingering back soreness. Ryan Suter will be in the lineup for the second time this preseason, while goaltender Devan Dubnyk will try and improve on his 2-0 start to the exhibition season.
32 Alex Stalock G
40 Devan Dubnyk G
3 Charlie Coyle RW
4 Mike Reilly D
6 Ryan Murphy D
7 Matt Cullen C
9 Mikko Koivu C
10 Chris Stewart RW
11 Zach Parise LW
12 Eric Staal C
14 Joel Eriksson Ek C
16 Jason Zucker LW
17 Marcus Foligno LW
19 Luke Kunin C
20 Ryan Suter D
22 Nino Niederreiter LW
23 Gustav Olofsson D
24 Matt Dumba D
25 Jonas Brodin D
26 Daniel Winnik LW
27 Kyle Quincey D
46 Jared Spurgeon D
63 Tyler Ennis RW
64 Mikael Granlund RW