DALLAS - Any momentum the Wild thought it gobbled up by beating the Florida Panthers the night before must have been lost over the Gulf of Mexico during its flight to Texas.
The Wild's "Dallas Curse" continued Friday night when the Stars stuck a dagger in the Wild early en route to a 4-1 victory at American Airlines Center. That stretched the Wild's winless streak in Dallas to 16 games (0-11-5) since March 2003.
This one was painful.
If the Wild had won, five teams would have been within one point of eighth place in the Western Conference. But with the loss, the 12th-place Wild fell to five points back of eighth and three back of ninth, 10th and 11th.
"You can say it's almost more than two points," said Niklas Backstrom, pulled at the 3:53 mark of the second period after giving up his third goal on 14 shots
Just before warmups, General Manager Chuck Fletcher pulled Marek Zidlicky from the lineup. Players began to realize he had been traded, later finding out it was to New Jersey for former Wild players Kurtis Foster and Stephane Veilleux, 6-3 skilled forward Nick Palmieri and two draft picks.
"To get them back in this locker room, it's going to be a boost," defenseman Nick Schultz said. "Anyone that's been around Veilleux and Fozzy, they know they love the game and love working hard and competing."
Coach Mike Yeo is excited just to add NHL players. He said he hopes it brings a type of urgency the Wild somehow lacked in a big game.
"We haven't had a lot of competition here," Yeo said. "Guys have been, I don't want to say, given spots, but because we don't have the competition, you don't have that guy who's up on a line with pressure to perform internally from your teammates. You know that your spot's going to be OK because we don't have a lot of bodies right now."
Every Wild skater but four was a minus Thursday, including six players minus-2 or worse. Nate Prosser particularly had a tough night (minus-3). The Wild had almost no looks at the net 5-on-5.
"I mean, our execution was really bad," Yeo said. "You look at how many 5- to 10-foot passes we couldn't connect on. Everything just seemed to be a broken play. ... We weren't together all night."