After a couple of days off, the Dallas Stars will return to the ice tonight with their points streak on the line against the Minnesota Wild. The Stars remain atop the Pacific division thanks to their 2-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, running their winning streak to five games and their points streak to ten (9-0-1 overall). With the streak the Stars have reversed what happened to them last season (when they tanked from first in the division to out of the playoffs) and daily their chances at making the playoffs increase. But they can’t afford to slip up against the weak teams. The Wild are out of the playoff race with a record under .500 and injuries throughout the roster, but that does not mean they have given up on winning games. So this game should still be a “must-win” for Dallas, as playoff teams do not allow points to get away from them in games like this one.
The Stars will be without veterans Sheldon Souray and Radek Dvorak. With Dvorak out, Adam Burish will play on the third line and Ryan Garbutt will jump back into the lineup to center the fourth line. The Wild are dealing with a slew of injuries, including starting netminder Niklas Backstrom and top offensive threats Mikko Koivu, Guillaume Latendresse, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Because of Backstrom’s injury, Matt Hackett will continue to start in net for Minnesota.
The puck will drop in Minnesota for the final meeting between the two teams at 7PM central time. While the Wild won the first meeting in Minnesota back in January, the Stars have won the last two meetings with the Wild only scoring once in each game. While the Stars have been on fire, the Wild continue to fall further towards the bottom of the West. They have lost three straight at home, and they have been shutout three times in the last seven games overall. With Kari Lehtonen set to start again for Dallas, and the Wild sitting in the bottom five in the league in almost every offensive category, if the Stars can find a couple of goals tonight then they should grab another win.
- Michael Ryder‘s impressive run could continue tonight. He has a nine-game point streak going and he scored his 30th goal for the season on Saturday.
- While the Stars have killed 30-of-31 penalties during their streak, the Wild are 0-17 on the powerplay over their last seven games.
- The only stat in which the Wild are top-ten in the league: Faceoffs at 51.8%. The Stars are 23rd in the league at 48.9%.