Regardless of what transpires Saturday, the Wild seems ready to take a break from hockey.
But with just one more game to go before that four-day hiatus for the holiday, the team isn’t looking past this final test against the Stars at Xcel Energy Center.
“We just need to win,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “That certainly helps. Everybody in here is 100 percent focused on getting this win and getting a good feeling going into the break.”
The Wild has lost three straight, and nixing that slide could help the team regroup for a push that continues next week against Central Division opponents.
So far, the Wild is 6-3 against its rivals.
“The division games are always important as far as playoffs go, and I’m sure they’re looking for a little redemption,” said Dubnyk, who posted 33 saves in the 3-1 win over Dallas Oct.19. “We took one in their building, so we gotta make sure we’re ready for them and most importantly we want to get a win here before the break.”
Winger J.T. Brown is poised to get back into the Wild’s lineup after sitting out the past two games, replacing Joel Eriksson Ek.
“He’s got everything going for him, but we gotta get a little more play-making and offense from him,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He plays 14 minutes a night, and it’s just something in his development he’s gotta get a little more offense to his game.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niederreiter
Jordan Greenway-Charlie Coyle-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler-Nate Prosser
240: Assists for defenseman Ryan Suter with the Wild, which is one shy of moving into a tie for second place all-time.
9-1-2: The Wild’s record vs. the Stars in its last 12 games at Xcel Energy Center.
5: Goals by winger Jordan Greenway this season have been the first of the game.
.911: Save percentage for Dubnyk in 19 career games against Dallas.
16: Consecutive penalty kills for the Wild.
About the Stars:
The Wild’s Central Division rival is one point ahead of it in the standings amid a 17-15-3 record, but the Stars have struggled lately. They’ve dropped five of their last six games, including a 5-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday. Dallas is also 0-4 in its last four visits to St. Paul. Captain Jamie Benn leads the Stars in goals with 14, while center Tyler Seguin has a team-high 32 points. Goalie Ben Bishop is 11-9-1 with a .921 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average.