NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 18th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (21-19-7) at Minnesota Wild (26-19-5), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild look to continue a January surge on
Saturday night in the first of two meetings with the Dallas Stars in four
The Wild have won six of eight to begin the month after closing December with
six straight regulation losses. This current run has Minnesota tied with the
Vancouver Canucks for seventh place in the Western Conference.
With 49 points, the Stars have fallen eight points behind the Wild and Canucks
thanks to seven losses in their last eight games.
Minnesota used a three-goal barrage to knock off the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 on
Thursday. Defenseman Nate Prosser got the run started with 3:15 to play in the
second period, netting his first goal in almost two years, and Justin Fontaine
made it a two-goal Wild edge with 1:03 to go in the frame.
Jason Zucker added the exclamation point by scoring eight seconds into the
Wild coach Mike Yeo praised Prosser, who was playing in his 24th game of the
season after being a healthy scratch for most of December and scored his first
goals since Feb. 7, 2012.
"Prosser is an unbelievable professional," said Yeo. "There's no question he's
made the absolute most of this opportunity. He's a guy that wins."
Jason Pominville, held without a goal in six straight, scored his 19th tally
of the season and also had an assist, while Darcy Kuemper made 20 saves in his
third straight start. Kuemper will get the call again on Saturday in his first
career outing against Dallas.
Following this contest, the Wild are idle until visiting the Stars on Tuesday
while Dallas also visits Nashville the day before hosting Minnesota.
The Stars hope to have built some momentum by then. They snapped a six-game
losing streak with a win over Edmonton on Tuesday, but then lost a 4-2
decision to the visiting Boston Bruins on Thursday. Five of the six goals
scored in that loss came in the third period.
Jamie Benn and Erik Cole scored for the Stars, while former Bruin Tyler Seguin
assisted on both goals. Kari Lehtonen gave up three goals on 40 shots in the
"It was a mixed bag for me with pockets of good plays," said Dallas head coach
Lindy Ruff. "We got some breaks that could have allowed us to win and we made
some mistakes that gave them really good opportunities. We lost some wall
battles that led to a couple goals and Boston came out tonight really
Both defenseman Sergei Gonchar (lower body) and forward Ray Whitney (upper
body) are questionable for this game, though blueliner Aaron Rome may be able
to return from a lower-body ailment that has kept him out of the past three
The Stars lost a 5-1 decision in Minnesota on Oct. 12 in the first of four
meetings this season, their third setback in the last four encounters in this
The Wild have won four of their past five at home versus the Stars.
01/18 11:11:45 ET