Tonight the Wild return to home-ice and a win against the Dallas Stars (
Norm Green still sucks) would put Minnesota in the top 8. The Wild havent been in the top eight since November 24th. Minnesota is 3-1 against the Stars this sesaon, but Dallas handed it to Minnesota the last time out, winning 7-1. Minnesota is 4-0 against Dallas in their last four games at the Xcel Energy Center. Devan Dubnyk starts for Minnesota tonight making his 17th consecutive start between the pipes. Dubnyk set a new single-season career high with his 21st victory Friday night. He owns a record of 12-2-1 with a 1.61 GAA, .938 SV% and five shutouts since being acquired from Minnesota.
Which team scores first tonight? The first 20 minutes will certainly be exciting as the Wild & Stars are two of the best 1st period teams in hockey. Since January 15th, the Wild leads the NHL with 22 first-period goals and Dallas is 2nd at 20. The Stars bring in one of the best offenses in hockey, ranking third in the NHL with 3.14 goals per game this season. Dallas is also coming off two UGLY performances in which they allowed 11 goals. Mike Yeo expects the Stars to be desperate tonight after playing two uncharacteristic games. Kari Lehtonen has struggled this season, and Dallas acquired Jhonas Enroth on Feburary 11th. Enroth will start for Dallas tonight.
Same lineup for the Wild tonight. Yep! No changes. Jared Spurgeon is still out and is listed as day-day. Matt Dumba and Christian Folin played great on Friday. Dumba continues to impress after a roller coaster season, as he logged 20 minutes on Friday. Folin also stepped up big time when Marco Scandella missed most of the 1st period Friday Night with a lower-body injury. The Wild are 5-1-1 since losing Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter to the IR and Jordan Schroeder and Justin Fontaine have helped fill that void. Schroeder scored his 3rd goal since his recall (five points (3-2=5) in the last seven games) and is tied for third on the team with a plus-6 rating. Fontaine has eight points (4-4=8) in his last 13 games and his game has really taken off since the injuries to Zucker & Carter.
Its Hockey Day in America and Minnesotan/former SCSU Husky, Bret Hedican will be doing color commentary with TSN's Gord Miller on NBCSN. (We all know who Brett is rooting for) Its a normal puck drop tonight, by normal I mean 7pm so the gamethread will be open at 6:45. Go Wild and Go America.