Wild goaltender Alex Stalock (32) stops the shot by Tampa Bay's Anthony Cirelli (71) with help from defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) during the third period Thursday. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)
Wild goaltender Alex Stalock (32) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Anthony Cirelli (71) watch as a goal by Nikita Kucherov, not pictured, goes into the net during the third period Thursday.
The Wild snapped out of its funk Thursday with a much-improved performance, upending the Lightning 3-2.
But it remains seven points shy of a playoff spot, a gap it can try to shrink Saturday when it hosts the Stars at Xcel Energy Center.
“It’s great to break the losing streak,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s great to play good at home, play against a top-notch team. But listen, we’ve got to do it again and again and again and again. One time is not enough. Hopefully, we can get the same kind of effort.’’
After practicing Friday, the Wild didn’t hold a morning skate Saturday but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the team rolled out the same lineup that broke a four-game losing streak Thursday.
Goalie Alex Stalock was in net for that game, improving to 6-1-1 this season at home this season with a 2.33 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
“We limited time and space on some of the skill guys,” Stalock said about what worked vs. Tampa Bay. “That’s how we need to play. Sometimes it’s boring; it’s hard work. We got it done last night. But the main thing is, you put in all that hard, boring work, and you get smiles. That’s what it’s all about.’’
Thursday’s victory was just the second by the Wild in its past eight games and while it’s been a while since the team got on a roll and regularly banked points night-in, night-out, the group is hoping it can recapture that type of momentum before the All-Star break next week.
“As a team, it was a difficult stretch for everyone, not getting the wins,” winger Zach Parise said. “And mentally, that starts to pile up. I don’t think there were too many guys feeling great about their games. Hopefully with the win last night, we can spring forward and feel good about the way we played and get a few more in before the break starts.’’
Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Jason Zucker-Victor Rask-Kevin Fiala
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Jordan Greenway-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Greg Pateryn
1-1: Record for the Wild vs. the Stars this season.
10-3-3: Showing for the Wild in its last 16 home games against Dallas.
7: Points for winger Marcus Foligno in his past six games.
3: Goals from Parise in his last two outings.
14: Points for defenseman Ryan Suter in the last 16 contests.
About the Stars:
Dallas is third in the Central Division, sitting 10 points ahead of the Wild. The Stars are coming off a 4-1 loss but before that, the team won seven of its previous eight. In two games this season vs. the Wild, center Tyler Seguin has a goal and two assists, while winger Alexander Radulov has a team-high four points – three of which are goals. Overall, Seguin leads the Stars with 36 points. Winger Roope Hintz’s 15 goals are the most on Dallas.