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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Dallas

Three game stretch against Central Division rivals begins Tuesday at American Airlines Center

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (4-7-0) at Dallas Stars (4-8-1)

Puck drop: 7:38 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; @mnwildscribe; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

DALLAS -- After playing just one of its past eight games inside the Central Division, the Wild will begin a crucial stretch of intra-division matchups on Tuesday night when it plays the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Minnesota will fly north to St. Louis to take on the Blues in the second of back-to-back games on Wednesday before a return match with the defending Stanley Cup champions in St. Paul on Saturday.

The Wild is playing its best hockey of the young season so far, coming off a 5-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings and having won three of its past four games overall. All of that success has come at home, however, with the Wild posting a 3-0 record at Xcel Energy Center. It's struggles on the road have been a season-long trend so far, but one Minnesota will try and reverse this week.

Video: Wild Monday practice update

Minnesota will begin that stretch by facing the Stars, who lead the Wild by just one point in the division standings despite having played two more games. Perhaps surprisingly, Dallas has struggled offensively despite the offseason acquisition of former San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski and former Anaheim Duck Corey Perry.

The Stars' 25 goals are tied for second-fewest in the NHL despite the fact that, entering Monday, Dallas had played the most games. At 1.92 goals-per-game, the Stars are the only team averaging under two goals per contest so far.

Only the Ottawa Senators have struggled more on the power play, with Dallas converting at an 8.3 percent rate. Even Dallas' 27.8 shots on goal per game ranks in the bottom three of the League statistics. 

Still, one look at the line chart and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau believes a turnaround could come at any moment.

"I still think they're a great hockey club," Boudreau said. "Things haven't worked out well so far and I hope they don't start working out tomorrow."

The Stars are wrapping up a four-game homestand, however, one where they have won two of the first three games. The game against the Wild is just the second time in 14 games this season it will have faced a Central Division foe. 

Dallas has remained solid between the pipes, where Ben Bishop has a goals-against average of 2.35 and a .920 save percentage despite a 3-5-0 record. 

Up front, Roope Hintz has six goals amongst his seven points. Both figures lead the club. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have combined for just three goals and 11 points while Pavelski has two goals and three points.

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