1 2 3 T
Dallas Stars DAL 0 0 0 0
24 SHOTS 32
20 HITS 25
8 PIM 10
0/4 PP 0/3

GAMEDAY: Wild vs. Stars

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Minnesota Wild (1-0-0: 2 points, T-1st in Western Conference, 1st in Northwest Division) vs. Dallas Stars (1-0-0: 2 points, T-1st in Western Conference, T-1st in Pacific Division)
And we’re off.

The sprint that is the 48-game NHL regular season blasted off yesterday. The Minnesota Wild won’t get any time to enjoy last night’s 4-2 victory against the Colorado Avalanche, as the club hosts the Dallas Stars tonight. The Saturday-Sunday back-to-back represents the first in nine times the Wild will have games on consecutive nights.

With the compacted schedule, fatigue will factor into these games at some point, but when that point is, no one can predict. Travel will factor into the schedule, and the Wild and Stars will be the two most frequent flyers this season, with the most projected travel miles in the NHL. But tonight, the Wild will have the rest advantage having slept in their own beds, while the Stars jumped onto a plane and headed straight to the State of Hockey after yesterday’s win against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Instead of going through a morning skate, the Wild will only hold an a.m. meeting, in order to try and get as much rest as possible. If the crowd at Xcel Energy Center is as frenetic as it was yesterday, it should give Minnesota an added adrenaline kick, making up for rest.

After a sluggish first period yesterday, the Wild came alive in the second period against the Avs, scoring three unanswered goals. The power play was clicking, as Dany Heatley scored twice, on similar plays, with assists going to Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu on both. Rookie Mikael Granlund made an impact in his NHL debut, scoring his first-career goal on a tipped point shot from Jared Spurgeon. Granlund won an right-circle offensive zone faceoff and Devin Setoguchi banged the puck back to the point. Spurgeon collected the biscuit and fired a waist-high wrist shot, which Granlund tipped past Semyon Varlamov. In the third period, the Wild and Avs traded goals, with Pierre-Marc Bouchard scoring his first marker in more than a year. Cal Clutterbuck took a pass from Kyle Brodziak and chipped the puck past the Colorado defender. He then broke in on goal and got a shot off, but was stopped by the Avs netminder. Bouchard was breaking to the net and banged home a rebound to secure the Wild’s win. Niklas Backstrom continued his dominance against the Avs, making 22 saves in the victory.

The Dallas Stars outlasted the Coyotes, 4-3. Dallas was paced by ageless wonders, and free-agent acquisitions, Jaromir Jagr had two goals and two assists, and Ray Whitney scored a goal. Loui Eriksson scored with 6:55 left in the third period to snap a 3-3 tie. Kari Lehtonen was busy in net, stopping 37 of 40 shots for the win.
Meet The Avs If You're Going
The Dallas stars signed two 40-plus free agents over the summer in Jagr and Whitney. Jagr, one of the most prolific offensive weapons in the history of the NHL, After a three-year hiatus, he returned to the NHL last season with the Philadelphia Flyers, scoring 54 points (19-35=54). Whitney, one of the most consistent and underrated players in the NHL, racked up 77 points (24-53=77) for the Coyotes. If you're going, you might see an influx of young adults and men and women in uniform in the audience. Tonight is both College Night, presented by Wells Fargo and KDWB, and Military Night, presented by the Minnesota National Guard and KFAN.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
The Wild's first power-play unit is hot, going 2-for-7 yesterday against the Avs. Heatley was in his familiar spot, stationed in front of the net and scored both of the team's power-play tallies from low in the slot. Parise and Koivu assisted on the goals by creating space along the sidewall and moving to the net.

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge for a chance to win great prizes.

Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
Yeo - Jan. 19 | Granlund - Jan. 19
Koivu Jan. 19 | Parise - Jan. 19
Backstrom - Jan. 19
Wild vs. Stars Preview
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
With no pregame skate, the lineup isn't set. However, the Wild looked pretty good with these lines:

Parise – Koivu – Heatley
Cullen – Granlund – Setoguchi
Bouchard – Brodziak – Clutterbuck
Mitchell – Konopka – Powe

The blue line was solid yesterday and is likely to stay the same:

Suter – Spurgeon
Gilbert – Stoner
Falk – Prosser

Head Coach Mike Yeo didn't announce a starter this morning. Last season, G Josh Harding faired better against the Stars going 1-0-0, saving 23 of 25 shots for a .920 save percentage, while
Niklas Backstrom went 0-1-1 with a 2.70 goals against average and a .900 save percentage.
View From The Press Box
It was real nice to get a win for our fans…They were instrumental in that game for us. We didn't give them much to cheer about early, but the second we did the place was rocking, We fed off it.

- Yeo on last night's home crowd
Forward Matt Kassian will likely be out of the lineup for the second-straight game. 18-year-old Matt Dumba is not expected to make his NHL debut tonight.

No players are out of the lineup due to injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
D Alex Goligoski (Grand Rapids) and C Toby Peterson (Minneapolis) are Minnesota natives. LW Eric Nystrom spent the 2010-11 season with the Wild, tallying 12 points (4-8=12) in 82 games. The Wild has never lost a home opener played at Xcel Energy Center, going 10-0-1 in the team’s 11 seasons and has won the last 10 straight. The Wild tied Philadelphia 3-3 in its first franchise home opener (10/11/00), giving the team its only non-win.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild vs. Stars will be broadcast locally in high definition on Fox Sports North with a start time at 7:00 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.

Click here to receive Minnesota Wild broadcast alerts/game day previews each Wild Game day.

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Five Takeaways vs COL - Jan. 19
Hockey Day Minnesota Coverage
HDM Recap | SCSU Hockey Hair
Schawn's Hockey Mom
PONDcast Season Preview Pt. 1 | Pt. 2
Photo Gallery
Wild vs. COL - Jan. 19
Hockey Day Minnesota
Behind The Scenes From Training Camp
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