Darcy Kuemper vs. a Goalie to be Named Later (believed to be Kari Lehtonen) tonight when the Wild and Dallas Stars clash on Xcel Energy Center's ice.
Good day from the press room, where it's a comfortable 70 degrees or so.
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Zack Mitchell is the lone scratch tonight. Jordan Schroeder draws back in.
Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba are hurt with finger and knee injuries, respectively. My guess is Brodin returns Tuesday against Chicago because tomorrow is a mandatory CBA day off, so no practice.
Alex Tuch said Bruce Boudreau has talked to him about his pace and his overthinking, and he hopes to remedy that tonight.
The Wild has lost two in a row three times this season (last time Nov. 29 and Dec. 2), and only one of those losing streaks came in regulation. So the Wild hopes to avoid that tonight.
"We put a lot of emphasis on not letting anything fester or snowball," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's going to happen at times, but we really know this is an important game because we weren't successful last game. We don't want to lose two in a row."
The Wild is 7-0 in its past seven after a loss -- six of those one-goal games.
Why Kuemper? Boudreau said, "We think it's important with all the games after [next week's five-day bye], if he didn't play, you're playing Duby today and Saturday and Tuesday, and then you have the bye week, when we return and play back-to-back, it'd be his first time in 2 1/2 weeks with not a lot of practice. I don't think that's conducive for success.
"We need him to be good for us to be good because we're not going to be able to play Duby 22 games in a row after the break."
Kuemper is 5-3-3 all-time vs. the Stars. That's 11 starts, the most he has faced anybody. The next closest is six.
The loss to the Ducks was the Wild's fifth in regulation since Nov. 29. The Stars are plummeting. They’ve lost six of their past seven, have allowed at least three goals in 14 of their past 15 games and are the second-worst defensive team in the NHL (3.21 goals per game).
Jason Pominville has 17 points in the past 13 games. Mikael Granlund is second in the NHL with 26 first assists. Jason Zucker is tied for ninth in minors drawn per 60 minutes (1.88). Nino Niederreiter has four goals and two assists in the past five games and is a goal from his third straight 20-goal campaign.
Jamie Benn leads Dallas with 11 goals and 27 points in 30 contests against Minnesota. Tyler Seguin has 21 points in the past 19 games vs. the Wild.
Since Jan. 12, Niederreiter is tied for first in the NHL with 10 goals, Benn is tied for third with nine.
Minnesota is on a six-game point streak against Dallas (4-0-2) and is 8-2-4 in its last 14 games. The Wild is 6-1-2 against Dallas at home in the past nine games.
By the way, since Dec. 31, these are two of the league's worst penalty kills. The Wild ranks 27th in that span at 75 percent and the Stars are last at 66.2 percent.
The Wild ranks fourth overall, the Stars 29th for the season.
That's it for me. I'll be on KFAN at 5:15 p.m. and on Fox Sports North during the pregame show and first intermission. We'll talk bye weeks, coaching changes, trade deadline and how it may affect the Wild.