Preview Wild vs Stars
As Central Division competitors, the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars understand one another rather well. And after Minnesota beat Dallas 4-2 in the Twin Cities on Dec. 27, the Stars are looking for a little repayment on Saturday at American Airlines Center.
Dallas (29-19-4, 62 points), who won 4-1 at Arizona on Thursday, is an excellent 17-8-1 at home games.
Rather of seeing the Stars’ No. 1 goaltender, Ben Bishop, one of Dallas’ essential additions last summer season, on Saturday, the Wild will rather see the backup netminder Kari Lehtonen.
That’s since Bishop needed to leave Thursday’s road win after being struck in the side of the face and needed to leave the ice in the 3rd period.
Stars first-year coach Ken Hitchcock stated after an optional practice on Friday that Bishop ought to go back to practice on Sunday, however he is not in any shape to support Lehtonen on Saturday.
” He’s feeling much better today (Friday),” Hitchcock stated of Bishop. “He will not back-up tomorrow (Saturday) however he’ll join us on Sunday for our practice. X-rays are negative, so that’s a great news. Eye’s still swollen, however I believe it’s best today that we call a guy from the American Hockey League as a backup for (Lehtonen).”.
Hitchcock said forward Antoine Roussel, missed the previous 2 games with a sinus, might return versus the Wild, however stated any choice will not be made till after the early morning skate on Saturday.
” Again, (he) practiced OK,” Hitchcock stated of Roussel. “It’s how he feels 2 hours later on, so we’ll see tomorrow. He’s improving and feeling much better, however I have no idea that we can clear it today till we see how he feels tomorrow early morning.”.
Dallas is 7-10-0 versus the remainder of the Central Division and if The Stars, who are 6-3-1 over their previous 10 games, are to make some hay in the division, they will have to lean on 2018 NHL All-Star John Klingberg, who has points in 14 of his past.
18 games and leads all league defensemen in points.
Young center Mattias Janmark, who has 5 points (4 goals) over his previous 5 games after missing out on last season with a knee injury, has actually been providing offense of late.
Hitchcock also updated on injured center Martin Hanzal (lower body) and defenseman Marc Methot (knee), who have actually both been out prior to the NHL All-Star break however were already expected to have actually returned on Friday.
“( With) both players, it’s truly on again, off again. You get delighted and after that there’s a problem,” Hitchcock stated of Hanzal and Methot. “Until we actually put them in a full practice, they’re clearly days or a week away.”.
Minnesota (28-18-5, 61 points) will not have an early morning skate Saturday after beating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 on Friday at Xcel Energy.
In that big win, which keeps Minnesota unbeaten versus Vegas, something just one of 2 NHL groups can claim, Wild defensemen Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba combined 5 assits, and Eric Staal had 2 goals and a assist.
Staal’s 2nd goal was an empty-netter, granted due to the fact that he was hooked on a late-game breakaway.
” You do not see that typically, however I’ll take it,” Staal stated of his 2nd tally of the night.
In the 2nd period, Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter got his 400th career assist when he created Jared Spurgeon’s power-play goal. Suter is now the 11th defenseman in NHL history to sign up a minimum of 200 points with 2 various teams.
The Wild benefited from a Vegas team that was on the 2nd night of a back-to-back.
” We understood they were exhausted and we were relatively well-rested,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau stated postgame. “We believed if we got on them we may be able to obtain a lead, and we did.”.
Now, the shoe will be on the other foot as the Wild will be on the 2nd game of a back-to-back tomorrow night. Minnesota is 3-4-1 on the tail end of back-to-backs this season and 10-4-1 on the roadway, so a win in Dallas isn’t really out of the question.