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Preview: Wild take on streaking Robertson and the Stars

Robertson looks to continue his 17-game streak, while Kirill Kaprizov can build on his 11-game streak of his own.

Dallas Stars v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

After a sloppy shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks, the Minnesota Wild find themselves in possession of a tidy little string of victories, a fully-operational top line, and a reunited GREEF line. Kirill Kaprizov is —in NBA Jam terms— on fire. Our diminutive forward is boomshakalaka-ing all over other teams to the tune of 18 points in the last 11 games.

It’s fun when the Wild are winning, and while they weren't able to pummel a lesser opponent in the Ducks — who somehow have only 15 points on the season, with only one regulation win — this recent stretch of games is the Wild that we hoped we would get coming into the season.

Unfortunately, on the other end of tonight’s tilt, a rolling Dallas Stars team led by an emergent superstar in Jason Robertson awaits them.

While Kaprizov’s streak is impressive, Robertson tops it. He’s on a 17-game tear, in which he has piled up 20 goals and 12 assists, has become the league's first 20-goal scorer on the season and led the Stars toward the top of the league. Robertson is a man possessed, a delight to watch and will be a herculean task to stop tonight. If the Wild do manage to stop him tonight, no one will forgive them.

I think we can all feel okay with that.

The Stars aren’t a one-trick pony, though. Jake Oettinger, who is likely the unconfirmed starter for tonight, has quietly been one the best goalies on the year with a .923 save percentage and leading the way with the stellar performance on the penalty kill — with a league-leading .914 save percentage — where the Stars rank third in the league.

Roope Hintz is an underrated star.

Miro Heiskanen has seemingly shed some of the warts that detracted him from being one of the best offensive defensemen in the league.

Joe Pavelski is an ageless wonder, and Jamie Benn is as annoying as ever.

The Dallas Stars are scary right now, and what better way for the Minnesota Wild to prove to the league that they are too.

Burning Questions

(Softball question) Can Kirill continue his streak?

A real challenging question here, but it is the burning question we all want answered tonight.

Kaprizov has been a constant this year in a season of ups and downs. He’s been the Wild’s most consistent performer, gives his all on every shift and is undoubtedly the leader on the ice. Some of his best nights have come at the expense of the Stars in his short NHL career; he’s managed four goals and five assists in just four contests against them up until this point.

Odds are that he builds on his streak tonight, knock on wood.

Can the GREEF line stop the supernova that is Jason Robertson?

It’s a big ask, but we’ve seen them do it before, although typically, Jonas Brodin is out there to help. After Brodin missed the game against the Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers game before that, his availability is up in the air for tonight.

Head coach Dean Evason loves some line-matching, and the size advantage that Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno have over Joe Pavelski, Robertson and Hintz is tangible.

Let’s hope they don't get burned by the Stars unit's speed.

Can the fourth line create some offence?

It wasn’t what they made the move for Ryan Reaves for, but the unit with him, Mason Shaw and Connor Dewar have created some chemistry and quickly.

We won’t ever expect them to dominate, but the Stars do lack some depth at forward, so there is room to come out on top for the bottom of the Wild’s lineup.