After an abundance of Eastern Conference competition the Dallas Stars handled their first stiff Central Division tester Tuesday night, narrowly defeating the Winnipeg Jets despite the two empty-net tallies on the board as the night concluded.
The Stars survived an evening full of work for Kari Lehtonen in their bid to hold on to their Western supremacy, but the challenge gets even harder with the 10-3-2 Wild in town tonight.
The Wild took four of five from Ruff's bunch last season, compounding the well-known divisional issues for the Stars at the AAC.
Minnesota allowed a season-high 39 SOG in Carolina Thursday night before heading to Dallas in what would ultimately prove to be a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes.
Winnipeg is 1-1-1 on the road against the Central division in the early-going this season.
Puck drops on this one just after 7pm- See you back here for the game thread.
Alex Hemsky had an active game Tuesday night with a number of breakaways, but it is unclear whether or not he'll be able to go this evening after a maintenance day was granted by Ruff at Friday's practice.
Also questionable are Jyrki Jokipakka and Patrick Eaves, newly re-activated off of injured reserve for the first time in 4-5 weeks since the season began.
Travis Moen and Curtis McKenzie remain out- With as well as Radek Faksa has played, however, the coaching staff has some pretty interesting decisions to make coming up.
The goaltending roulette wheel continues to spin without much in the way of decipherable logic- Let it fall where it may. They've both been good.
Minnesota has already dealt with twice as many Western foes as has Dallas and they're excelling in that category with a 7-3-2 record. Minnesota has yet to lose to an Eastern opponent.
Their three regulation losses come from Winnipeg, Nashville and Anaheim.
Overall, however, they're 7-2-1 in their last ten despite a knee injury to captain Zach Parise, and they're breathing Down Dallas' neck for first place in the conference. It's a four-point game if ever there was one.
They are an extremely low-event team in terms of special teams through this point in the regular season, being the most disciplined on the penalties taken side. That being said they've allowed a power play goal in each of their last two games despite not offering much in the way of opportunity.
They've been held to less than 30 shots in each of their last three outings despite all of them being wins, as they've reached as high as 35 shots just once this season.
Their lineup, or something like it:
From Stars PR:
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
The Dallas Stars play their final game of a three-game homestand on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center. Dallas and Minnesota meet for the first of five times during the 2015-16 season and begin the first of two meetings during the month of November. The Stars were 1-3-1 last season against the Wild with a 1-1-1 mark on home ice, but have earned points in 23 of their last 25 home games against Minnesota, posting a 21-2-2 record since the 2002-03 season. Dallas defeated Minnesota, 7-1, on Jan. 3, 2015 in the most recent meeting of the series at American Airlines Center. The Stars used five goals during the second period to break open the game, with defenseman Jamie Oleksiak recording a career-high three assists (0-3=3) and forward Tyler Seguin recording a multi-point game (1-1=2) against Minnesota.
IF YOU'RE GONNA PLAY IN TEXAS, YOU GOTTA HAVE A FIDDLER IN THE BAND
Stars forward Vernon Fiddler recorded two points (1-1=2) on Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets for his second multi-point game of the season. Fiddler has recorded points in three of his last four games (2-2=4), and has tallied six points (3-3=6) over his last three home games. So far this season, the forward has posted nine points (3-6=9) in 17 games. Fiddler enters Saturday's contest with points (4-2=6) in five of his last eight games against the Wild, including a two goal outing (2-0=2) on Jan. 3, 2015. Fiddler led the Stars in 2014-15 with three goals against Minnesota and shared first on the squad with four points (3-1=4), and now has 16 points (7-9=16) in 38 career games against them.