DALLAS – Not only did the Wild leave Dallas Friday night sans two points after a 3-1 loss to the Stars, but it also didn’t return to the Twin Cities at full strength.
Winger Pontus Aberg didn’t make it through the game, leaving with a lower-body injury – the severity of which is unclear.
The Wild finishes off the second half of a back-to-back Saturday at home against the Blackhawks. It’s currently carrying an extra forward, with winger J.T. Brown the odd-man out Friday.
Aberg took only nine shifts and just two in the second, not resurfacing after last skating with less than five minutes to go in the frame.
Down a forward, the Wild shuffled its line throughout the third as it unsuccessfully vied for the go-ahead goal – and then the game-tying goal after center Tyler Seguin pushed the Stars ahead on a puck that trickled through goalie Devan Dubnyk past the midway point of the period.
“With the first game in nine days, you would've probably preferred to roll with four lines rather than have some guys double shifting,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It probably affected us a bit.”
There were signs this was the Wild’s first game after a lengthy layoff; players’ passing wasn’t crisp at the outset, and the pace of play lagged.
“Every team is doing it in the league,” Boudreau said. “What are we going to do? Complain about it?”
Although Seguin’s game-winning goal stung, Dubnyk was strong otherwise – ending up with 29 saves, many of which kept the Wild even with the Stars for much of the game.
“They’re good in this building for generating shots and chances,” Dubnyk said. “You know they’re going to come, but that’s what I’m here for. When they get a push at different times in the game, try to hold on to it and give us a chance.”
The Wild’s lone goal came courtesy of the power play, which delivered for the third time in the last two games.
Defenseman Brad Hunt was responsible for the latest tally, his first goal with the team since getting added in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights last week.
With an assist on the goal, center Eric Staal extended his point streak to a season-high four games – a run in which he’s tallied seven points.
“It felt really good,” Hunt said. “It would have been a lot nice, feel a lot better if we would have got the win, but it was great work by the guys.”