Wild

3/31 PREGAME: Minnesota Wild vs. Dallas Stars

The Wild have five games left on the schedule, hold the third spot in the Central Division and can almost taste the playoffs.

Almost.

They’ll look to keep the points-streak rolling as they finish their season series against the Dallas Stars with a road game Saturday.

The Wild (43-24-10) have a season-high seven-game point streak going (4-0-3), with their last regulation loss coming back on March 13 against Colorado. The Wild beat the Stars 5-2 at home Thursday night in the first part of the home-and-home series. However, Dallas has historically not been a kind place to play for the Wild; they lost 6-1 on Feb. 3 in their other visit to the building this season.

The Wild are 2-1-0 against the Start this season and 9-18-8 all-time in Dallas.

The Wild have 96 points coming into the game, which is four more than wild-card placeholders St. Louis and Colorado. Winnipeg is eight points up on the Wild in second place.

Defenseman Matt Dumba is coming off a career-high four-point game with a goal and three assists. He has eight points in his past seven games. He’s having a career year with 12 goals, 34 assists, 46 points, four game-winning goals, 160 shots, 129 hits, 105 blocked shots and 10 power-play assists.

Zach Parise’s two goals on Thursday bumped his point streak to five games (4-2—6). Mikael Granlund broke out of his slump the other night with a three-point game. He has 20 goals for the second season in a row. He also tied his career-high in assists, giving him 43 helpers in 72 games this season.

Despite the goal slump, Granlund has six points (five assists) in the past seven games.

Special teams came up big for the Wild last game with a pair of power-play goals and a perfect penalty kill. The Wild are 12 for 12 on the kill in their past four games. Their power-play goals broke a four-game slump for the team.

The Stars (39-31-8) have dropped nine of their past 10 games, which isn’t a great mark for a team that was trying to get itself into the playoff picture. Saturday is their final home game of the season. The organization will celebrate 25 years of Dallas Stars hockey, even though the Stars have been around much longer in the bold north.

Tyler Seguin leads the Stars with 39 goals; hitting the 40-mark would be his first time reaching the milestone in a single season. He’s followed by winger Jamie Benn’s 70 points (29-41—70). John Klingberg has a team-high 55 assists in 78 games this season.

Expect to see Kari Lehtonen in net for the Stars again; he also took the loss Thursday. Devan Dubnyk is set to make start No. 399 in net for the Wild. Dubnyk is 33-14-7 this season.

Wild defenseman Ryan Murphy turns 25 on Saturday.

On the injury front, Gustav Olofsson was injured in the last game and is out. According to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, sources say Olofsson has a concussion. With the exception of relative newcomers Nick Seeler and Jordan Greenway, Olofsson is the only Wild player without a goal this season. He has eight assists in 41 games.

Injury list:

  • Luke Kunin (ACL tear in left knee), out for season, 11 games
  • Jared Spurgeon (right hamstring tear), out for a minimum of four weeks, 7 games
  • Gustav Olofsson (upper body), injured in Thursday’s game

Total man games lost: 132 games


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