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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Dallas

Wild renews rivalry with defending Central Division champs on Monday

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com
The Essentials
Who: Minnesota Wild (9-7-1, 19 points, fourth place in Central Division) at Dallas Stars (7-7-5, 19 points, fifth place in Central)
Puck drop: 7:38 p.m. CT
Watch: FOX Sports North; FOX Sports GOWild Watch Bar LocationsNHL.TV

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter

The Opponent

Dallas is 1-1-1 on its current four-game homestand, which concludes tonight. The Stars will be without defenseman Johnny Oduya, who was placed on injured reserve on Sunday with a lower-body injury. Defensemen Julius Honka and Esa Lindell were recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League for backup. Tyler Seguin leads the Stars with 21 points; Patrick Eaves is the club's leading goal scorer with nine goals. 


Connections

• Stars assistant coach Curt Fraser played three seasons with the Minnesota North Stars from 1987-90.


Star Gazing

Once a house of horrors for the Wild, Minnesota has been better at American Airlines Center in recent trips. After going 4-16-6 in its first 26 games in Dallas, the Wild has gained at least one point in four of its past five games here -- including three wins -- since the start of the 2014-15 season. Minnesota is 6-2-3 overall in its last 11 games against the Stars.


At the Rink

Darcy Kuemper will get his first start since Nov. 13 when the Wild and Stars clash tonight at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

It will be Kuemper's fourth start of the season. His start tonight comes off his best effort this season, when he stopped 35 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Ottawa Senators. 

Before that game, it had been a span of 21 days between starts.

"It's always exciting when you get to play and it's nice not to have to wait so long," Kuemper said. "You still feel good from the last game and just want to carry that momentum over from the last game into this start."

The start will mark the 10th of his career against the Stars, a team that boasts some of the most explosive talent in the NHL. Kuemper is 4-3-2 in his previous nine, with a 3.24 goals against and a .906 save percentage, and he knows the dangers that await.

"They can be [daunting]. Fortunately, I've played against them," Kuemper said. "They got a lot of skill. It's an exciting challenge. It's one of those games that you get excited for because you know you're facing some of the best shooters and playmakers in the League."

The task will be made a bit easier with the news that defenseman John Klingberg will be scratched because of a missed meeting. With Klingberg out, Lindell could get into the lineup.

Antti Niemi was the first one off the ice for Dallas this morning and is expected to get the start in goal.

Here at the projected lineups:

WILD

Zach Parise - Eric Staal - Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Tyler Graovac - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker - Zack Mitchell - Chris Stewart

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Christian Folin

Mike Reilly - Matt Dumba

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

STARS

Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Tyler Seguin

Patrick Sharp - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Brett Richie

Lauri Korpikoski - Devin Shore - Adam Cracknell

Dan Hamhuis - Patrik Nemeth

Jordie Benn - Julius Honka

Esa Lindell - Stephen Johns

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

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