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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 21st (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (27-19-5) at Dallas Stars (21-20-8), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild appear to be catching the slumping Dallas Stars at just the right time.
The Wild shoot for a rare victory in Dallas on Tuesday night when they battle the Stars for the second time in four days.
Minnesota has been idle since a 3-2 overtime victory over visiting Dallas on Saturday, picking up a second straight win when defenseman Nate Prosser scored with 2:18 left in the bonus frame.
Charlie Coyle did most of the work prior to the score, winning a battle behind the net and dishing to Nino Niederreiter in between the circles. His shot was turned away, but the rebound kicked out to Prosser, who made no mistake on the game decider.
Prosser had scored just once in his first 96 NHL games, but has since recorded consecutive game-winning tallies.
"I'm at an all-time high. I can't believe what just happened," said Prosser.
Erik Haula netted his first career goal in his 17th NHL game and Ryan Suter also tallied for the Wild, who have won seven of their last nine games.
Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for Minnesota, while Dallas received 16 stops from Kari Lehtonen and got goals from Ryan Garbutt and Alex Chiasson.
"It's disappointing," Chiasson said. "This was probably one of our best games defensively, as far as scoring chances given to the other team. We battled through and it would've been nice to get a win here."
The Wild have taken both of their meetings this season with the Stars and have won four of the previous five encounters overall. However, they have won just once in their last 18 trips to Dallas, earning a 7-4 road win on March 25 of last season.
Minnesota, though, visits a Dallas club that is 1-8-1 in its past 10 games, having followed up the setback to the Wild with a 4-1 defeat in Nashville last night.
Cody Eakin had a power-play goal just 4:45 into the game for the Stars, who have lost three in a row, while Lehtonen allowed four goals on 23 shots.
"This is on me to get the team through this. I look at myself first and we've got to perform a little bit better," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
Dallas opens a five-game homestand tonight looking to make up some ground as it trails Minnesota by nine points in the standings. The Wild are tied for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
It is unknown if Lehtonen will face the Wild again tonight or if Ruff will give backup Dan Ellis a start.
Lehtonen is 6-5-1 with a 2.89 goals against average in his career versus the Wild, while Ellis is 2-5-1 with a 3.21 GAA.
The Wild are set to give Kuemper a fifth start in a row and it will be the second of his young career versus the Stars.
Johan Gustafsson is expected to serve as the backup after being recalled from the minors on Monday. Josh Harding remains out due to illness and Niklas Backstrom is resting a nagging lower-body injury.
01/21 10:50:12 ET