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Gameday updates: Tyler Seguin OUT, Wild at Stars lineups, key matchups

The Wild catch a bit of a break with Tyler Seguin sitting out for Game 1, at least.

Ryan Suter and Jamie Benn will see a healthy dose of each other tonight.
Ryan Suter and Jamie Benn will see a healthy dose of each other tonight.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are drawing ever closer to puck drop on their 2016 postseason, and while most of the "experts" (and, you know, us, too) aren't expecting much from this team in the next two weeks. Even so, we as Wild fans still need to remind ourselves that playoff hockey is still really fun to watch, and we should be looking forward to seeing our favorite team play in what promises to be an intense series against a fun-to-watch opponent like Dallas.

So, get excited! Let's take a quick look at the news that's come out today with these two teams.

This is probably smart for Dallas to take it slow with Tyler Seguin, who has been recovering from a lacerated Achilles tendon. Seguin is an important piece to the Stars lineup, and his absence definitely improves Minnesota's chances of winning. Still, with last change to control the match-ups against a depleted Minnesota team, Dallas should be more than equipped to handle the Wild without rushing Seguin back.

As for the Wild, we got confirmation on what we already know.

Haula's absence is crucial, as it leaves the Wild with limited options past Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund, and his speed is one of the few options the Wild have to shut down the Stars offense. But with the shape the Wild's third and fourth lines are in, moving Mikael Granlund down to play with Chris Porter and David Jones isn't exactly going to help the Wild's offense much.


Minnesota Wild

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle
Nino Niederreiter - Granlund - Jason Pominville
Porter - Zac Dalpe - Jones
Ryan Carter - Jarret Stoll - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella - Jonas Brodin
Nate Prosser - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk
Darcy Kuemper

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky
Mattias Janmark - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Steven Johns
Kris Russell - Jason Demers

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

Key Matchups

Ryan Suter vs. Jamie Benn

Minnesota has made some attempts to reduce Ryan Suter's ice time in the regular season, and he went down from 29+ minutes a night to 28:30- a three-year low for Suter. But with the postseason rolling around, and the Wild needing their (remaining) big-name players to step up, expect to see Suter's minutes increase.

That means that Suter's going to be out on the ice against virtually every Star, including Jamie Benn. They played to a 2-2 draw at even strength this season, but Benn's controlled the play in that match-up, out-attempting Minnesota 51-36 in those 40 minutes. Suter's going to have to step up his game and shut down everyone that happens to be in front of them- no matter how good they are.

Nate Prosser + Matt Dumba vs. Dallas Forwards

The Wild's third-pairing is something the Stars can exploit. Prosser isn't a puck-mover and for all of Dumba's skill, he can be prone to poor decisions. Dallas can exploit this match-up either by trying to burn them while carrying the puck in the offensive zone, or targeting them by dumping the puck in the zone and forcing either to make decisions under forechecking pressure. This pairing is going to need to work well together in moving the puck out of the defensive zone quickly, or Dallas will have their way with this pairing for ~12 minutes.

Jarret Stoll + Ryan Carter vs. Dallas' Power Play

When Wild fans and media have been discussing the injuries to Haula and Zach Parise, the focus has been on their impact on the Wild's ability to score. That is absolutely a major concern. But what that overshadows is the fact that the Wild have been using both of them on their penalty kill, which has seemed to improve since they started using more skilled penalty killers.

Without them, Torchetti may decide to rely on Carter, Stoll, or both- two key cogs in a penalty kill that was one of the very worst in the league. If they get the call to return to prominent short-handed roles, that duo needs to raise their game to live up to their role as penalty-killing specialists.