NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, March 29th
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (20-10-2) at Dallas Stars (15-14-3), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - For the second consecutive season, the Minnesota Wild have
posted a seven-game winning streak. On Friday night, they'll take aim at the
second-longest winning streak in club history and try to win consecutive road
games against the Dallas Stars for the first time.
The Wild put together a seven-game run from Nov. 28-Dec. 11, 2011, a streak
that had them atop the NHL standings with 41 points. However, they lost eight
straight and 15 of their next 17 and ended up missing the playoffs for a
fourth straight year.
Minnesota will hope to prevent a repeat of history as it visits Dallas for the
second time this week. The Wild snapped a 16-game road slide against the Stars
with Monday's 7-4 win, their first victory in Dallas since March 21, 2003 and
improved to 4-13-6 as the guest in the all-time series. They have never won
two straight in Dallas.
The Wild followed up that win with a 4-3 home triumph over the Phoenix Coyotes
on Wednesday, getting a game-tying marker from defenseman Ryan Suter with 55
seconds left in regulation before Mikko Koivu won it at the 2:43 mark of
Torrey Mitchell and Matt Cullen scored to give the Wild an early 2-0 lead
before the Coyotes battled back. Niklas Backstrom ended with 24 saves.
"Good teams find ways to win hockey games," Koivu said. "Not to take anything
away from Phoenix. They played a good game and made it hard, but I think just
with our systems we can do a better job. We know that and we're trying to fix
that and we'll try to play a better 60 minutes in Dallas."
The Wild continue to keep pace with the first-place Vancouver Canucks in the
Northwest Division and sit two points off the lead with two games in hand.
They'll try to pull even with the idle Canucks tonight and post the longest
winning streak in club history behind only the team-record nine-game run from
March 8-24, 2007.
The extension of Koivu and Suter's hot play would help. Koivu has three goals
and eight points over a five-game point streak, while Suter has logged a point
in 12 of his last 15 games, with 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) over that
Koivu had a goal and an assist in Monday's 7-4 win over Dallas, though Suter
was held without a point. However, Minnesota's other big offseason
acquisition, Zach Parise, had a pair of goals and an assist in the win, while
Backstrom made 22 saves.
It was Minnesota's second straight win over Dallas, including a 1-0 home win
on Jan. 20.
The Stars have not played since losing to the Wild and saw Jaromir Jagr score
in a fourth straight game on Monday. It was his team-leading 14th tally of the
campaign and he also has three assists over his last four games.
Alex Goligoski, Trevor Daley and Philip Larsen also scored, while Derek Roy
and Loui Eriksson added two assists each.
"Obviously not the result we wanted. We keep getting the lead and giving it
away," Dallas center Jamie Benn said.
Kari Lehtonen gave up six goals on 41 shots in the loss for the Stars, who had
won three of their previous four and have split the first two of a five-game
Monday's game was also the first for Dallas since it dealt captain Brenden
Morrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins a day earlier.
With the loss, the Stars are tied with three other teams for 10th in the
Western Conference and sit three points back of a playoff spot.
Jagr remains one assist shy of reaching 1,000 for his career.
The Stars have never been swept in a season series by the Wild.
03/29 10:56:32 ET