DALLAS – The Wild is undefeated so far this week, winning a pair of games at home with backup Alex Stalock in net for both.
But when the team vies for a third straight victory Friday in Dallas, normal starter Devan Dubnyk is scheduled to be in the crease.
This will be Dubnyk’s first start in almost a week. He last played this past Saturday at home vs. Boston, making 28 saves in the 6-1 loss.
It’s likely that’s the only lineup change coach Bruce Boudreau makes.
Defenseman Carson Soucy didn’t make the trip to Texas, as he’s out with illness. But the Wild could roll out the same defense even though it has another option in Matt Bartkowski after recalling him from the minors on Thursday.
The forward lines also were effective Thursday in the 4-2 win over the Canucks, especially after Boudreau made an in-game adjustment – promoting winger Ryan Donato to the second line while winger Jason Zucker served a rare fighting major and keeping Donato there even after Zucker returned.
“There was no message,” Boudreau said of switching Zucker. “Put him out there and get something going. If you look at the ice times other than special teams, they’re pretty balanced. Zucker playing with [captain Mikko] Koivu in the past has worked out great, and Mikko got a point which was great. So, it gives us good depth.”
Against the Canucks, only one forward (center Joel Eriksson Ek) played more than 18 minutes; everyone else was between 10 and 18, and that balance could pay dividends Friday when the Wild plays its second game in as many nights.
Not only that, but the Wild could see a heightened push by the Stars – who were walloped 7-0 by the Wild in St. Paul last month.
But this game also holds extra significance for the Wild. It’s winger Zach Parise’s 1,000th career game.
“We beat Dallas by a good margin last game, and this is going to be a tougher game,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “I'm sure they have a sour taste in their mouth, and that's something we have to come ready for. We expect another physical match, and that's the way games are going to be for the rest of the season.”
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato-Luke Kunin-Kevin Fiala
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Jordan Greenway
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Brad Hunt-Greg Pateryn
499: Career assists for Koivu.
1-3-1: Showing by the Wild in the second half of a back-to-back.
6: Goals for Parise in his last eight games.
1: Power play goal for winger Kevin Fiala in each of the past two contests.
10-5-2: Record for Dallas vs. the Central Division.
About the Stars:
Dallas still has a lengthy lead over the Wild, sitting nine points ahead in the third seed in the Central Division. Since completing a three-game road trip Tuesday, the Stars have been idle. They went 2-0-1 during the swing. Center Tyler Seguin leads the team in points with 39, but he hasn’t scored in his last 14 games. Wingers Alexander Radulov and Roope Hintz are tied for the most goals on the Stars with 15.