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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Dallas

Koivu scheduled to play in 1,000th NHL game as Wild hosts Stars Sunday in St. Paul

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (11-11-4) at Dallas Stars (15-10-2)

Puck drop: 2:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: FM 100.3 KFAN, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; @mnwildscribe; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

ST. PAUL -- Captain Mikko Koivu will skate in his 1,000th NHL game on Sunday when the Wild hosts the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center. 

Koivu will become the 55th player in the 102-year history of the NHL to skate 1,000 games with his first team, and will be the first to do so entirely with the Wild.

"There are so many people that you want to thank and you never get a chance. Hopefully they know what that means," Koivu said. "There are so many good memories. Like I said before, my whole adult life I've pretty much lived here. It's a big part of my life. I had my three kids here in Minnesota. It really has become home."

Koivu's 1,000th game ceremony will not take place Sunday, but before Minnesota's next home game, Dec. 10 against the Anaheim Ducks. 

Still, his parents, Jukka and Tuire, and his brother, former Montreal Canadiens captain, Saku, will be in attendance on Sunday. 

Video: Rink Report: Wild vs Stars

"And I know [Mikko] always loved to play in front of him," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "That's why I used to love playing Saku against Mikko. They would have some tremendous battles when they were playing each other."

The game could also mark the return of Marcus Foligno to the lineup. Foligno has been out of the lineup for three weeks after sustaining a lower-body injury in San Jose on Nov. 7, missing the past 10 games. 

The Wild has secured at least one point in nine of those 10 contests, but Boudreau said Foligno was playing well when he went down with injury.

That won't make his decision on who to take out of the lineup any easier.

"It's hard to sit out a guy. They're all playing well," Boudreau said. "It's a good and bad decision to have. You don't want to not reward a guy for playing well, but at the same time, you like to have the amount of forwards that are playing well pushing each other every night."

The last time the Wild and Stars hooked up was at the end of October in Dallas. Minnesota led 3-0 late into the second period and appeared ready to coast to an easy victory.

A late second-period marker by the Stars turned the momentum however, and they scored five times over the final 20 minutes in a 6-3 win.

Video: Bruce Boudreau Saturday practice update 

"I'm pretty sure they remember," Boudreau said. "As for motivation, I think the motivation is right where we're at in the standings. Let's face it, we got to .500, but that's where we were game one. Our goal is not to be .500 and to advance in this League, you have to be above it."

The win jumpstarted the Stars' season, which up until that point had been a disappointment. After that game, Dallas went on a 10-0-1 run, not losing in regulation again until Tuesday, when it lost 3-0 in Chicago. 

Following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Blues on Friday, the Stars have lost two-straight games in regulation for the first time since Oct. 16-18.

Tyler Seguin leads Dallas with 21 points in 27 games this season. Roope Hintz has 11 goals in 20 games. Second-year blueliner Miro Heiskanen has six goals and 17 points. 

Ben Bishop has started 18 games for Dallas, posting a 9-6-1 record to go with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. 

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