Preview: Dallas at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 28, 2015
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota
The Minnesota Wild have lost more games on home ice the past two days than they did in the season’s first 48 days, and coach Mike Yeo believes this week’s struggles represent a wake-up call as the Wild host the Dallas Stars Saturday. “This is maybe a good kick in the (rear),” Yeo told reporters after Friday’s 3-1 loss to Winnipeg, spoiling the return of forward Zach Parise from a sprained right knee.
Parise finished with one shot in 18:28 of ice time, and his presence – seven goals and two assists in 13 games before the injury – is a welcomed addition for a Minnesota team that won eight of its first nine on home ice. The Wild are 3-4-3 on the road, including a 3-2 overtime loss at Dallas on Nov. 14 during which Stars defenseman John Klingberg assisted on the Stars’ first two goals and netted the game-winner. Dallas needed a shootout Friday to down Vancouver 3-2, winning for the ninth time in 11 games. Jamie Benn scored his league-leading 17th goal for the Stars, who are tied with Montreal atop the NHL with 18 victories.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest Plus (Dallas), FSN North, FSN Wisconsin (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE STARS (18-5-0): Dallas got back on track after a disappointing 7-4 loss Tuesday to Ottawa, riding the offensive firepower of Benn, Klingberg (21st assist, second in the NHL) and center Tyler Seguin (20th assist, third in the league). Forward Patrick Sharp added two assists and has five points in his past three contests. Antti Niemi made 34 saves Friday – including a diving stop well in front of the crease after he tried to play a puck forward in overtime – and likely will get the call again against the Wild as Kari Lehtonen is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
ABOUT THE WILD (11-7-3): Minnesota is 1-4-1 overall in its past six games and struggled for long stretches in the back-to-back losses to Vancouver and Winnipeg. Yeo told reporters Darcy Kuemper will get his third start of the season Saturday in relief of Devan Dubnyk, who has started the past 13 games. Parise reported no problems other than conditioning after his return to the lineup, and forward Justin Fontaine, out since Oct. 30 with a sprained knee, is expected to play Saturday.
1. Dallas finished with 25 shots (six coming in overtime) Friday, its lowest total in nine games dating back to Nov. 3.
2. Kuemper has allowed six goals on 55 shots in two games and has not played since Oct. 25, when he was pulled after allowing four goals at Winnipeg.
3. The Stars have not lost back-to-back games this season.
PREDICTION: Stars 5, Wild 2