The Stars’ playoff chances took a hit Thursday after their loss to the Wild but with the team still mathematically in the mix, the Wild isn’t expecting a letdown in the rematch between these two teams Saturday in Dallas.
“They still got a shot,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The way things worked out last night, it was good for them. So they still got a shot, so they’re not going to give us an inch.”
Dallas could, however, be eliminated from contention with a regulation loss; even a point will keep its playoff hopes alive; in that regard, the Wild could encounter an even more desperate group than the one that skated in the 5-2 loss Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.
“The difference between that game for a win and loss was very, very narrow,” Boudreau said.
Defenseman Nick Seeler will draw back into the Wild’s lineup after sitting out last game; fellow blue liner Gustav Olofsson didn’t make the trip to Dallas, as he’s out with an upper-body injury.
Up front, the Wild isn’t making any changes – meaning winger Tyler Ennis will be a healthy scratch for a fourth consecutive game.
“I feel bad because Tyler works really hard and he’s done a great job,” Boudreau said. “But A, we have to see if [Jordan] Greenway can play well enough to play in the playoffs and it’s a short sample size. And because the fourth line was doing what they did, I didn’t want to break them up. I wanted them to feel some continuity. But Tyler’s going to get back into a game very soon.”
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Nino Niederreiter
Jordan Greenway-Matt Cullen-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Daniel Winnik
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Ryan Murphy
Nick Seeler-Nate Prosser
2: Wins for the Wild in three meetings with the Stars this season.
6: Points for winger Mikael Granlund against Dallas.
5-2-2: The Wild’s record in Dallas in its last nine trips.
9: Points for Stars center Tyler Seguin in his last eight games.
8: Shots on goal for Seguin Thursday vs. the Wild.
About the Stars:
The Stars’ playoff hopes are flickering, as the team sits six points shy of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. This would be the second consecutive season Dallas did not qualify for the postseason. The team is without two key players, as goalie Ben Bishop (knee) and center Martin Hanzal (back) are injured. Up front, Seguin and captain Jamie Benn have been solid. Seguin reached the 30-goal mark for the fourth time in his career, while Benn ranks second on the team with 29 goals, 41 assists and 70 points.