Preview: Minnesota at Dallas
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 9, 2016
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
With the Dallas Stars enjoying their best start in the franchise’s 49-year history, general manager Jim Nill was rewarded for his shrewd moves with a five-year contract extension on Friday. Nill’s Western Conference-leading Stars look to continue their good fortune as they vie for their second straight victory over a Central Division rival on Saturday when they host the Minnesota Wild.
Tyler Seguin, who was acquired from Boston in Nill’s first offseason at the helm, matched captain Jamie Benn with his team-leading 24th goal and tallied in the shootout of Dallas’ 2-1 victory over Winnipeg on Thursday. “It wasn’t our best game, but the guys found a way to win,” Seguin told reporters. “We’re going to be happy with that.” Minnesota hasn’t been happy since winning three of four to end 2015, as it began the new year with a 1-1-2 mark following a 4-3 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Thursday. Zach Parise has enjoyed a strong start to January with four goals in his last two games, but was held off the scoresheet in his two meetings with Dallas this season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE WILD (21-11-8): Mike Reilly is in line to make his NHL debut with fellow defenseman Nate Prosser (hand) likely to miss his third straight game. “I don’t know for sure if I’m in, but there seems like a really good chance,” Reilly told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I’ve been working hard for this. I feel like the last few weeks down there (Iowa of the American Hockey League) have been a lot better. I’m feeling like myself.” Fellow defenseman Marco Scandella is expected to play on Saturday despite taking an awkward fall into the boards versus the Flyers that ultimately led to a goal.
ABOUT THE STARS (29-10-4): Patrick Sharp, who notched an assist versus the Jets, has scored six goals and set up eight others during his career-high 11-game point streak. Benn is trending in the other direction, as he has been held off the scoresheet in each of his last four contests. The reigning Art Ross Trophy winner has torched Minnesota for two goals and four assists this season and 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 24 career meetings.
1. Dallas leads the league by averaging 3.40 goals per game.
2. Minnesota veteran LW Thomas Vanek has two goals and five assists in his last 18 contests.
3. The Stars have won five in a row at home and their 17 victories at American Airlines Center equal their total from last season.
PREDICTION: Stars 5, Wild 2