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Preview: Dallas Stars @ Minnesota Wild (7:00pm CST)

The Stars are on tonight. So is an all new “Big Bang Theory” and “Chicago Med”, whatever that is.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild are the league’s second best team behind the Washington Capitals. In points (80!) and in goal differential (+57), and in goals allowed (just 130). They’ve the fourth most goals in the league at 187.

They are really, stinking good. You know, like the season the Dallas Stars had last year.

The season they’re having this year is quickly becoming accepted to be, by an increasingly broad and usually upbeat audience, simply over. I can’t think of a tweet more emblematic of that than this one, coming from Mark Stepneski himself-

It was in reply to one of so many tweets twitting about on the subject matter of Lindy Ruff, his mustache, and their respective employment statuses with the Dallas Stars in the immediate future.

No one’s closer to the team save Heika- So it’s an interesting tweet because it’s as honest as it is, but also probably true. This will, in all likelihood, be a period of two or three weeks of not much happening. It will continue to frustrate people- but the Stars won’t make decisions based on emotions. That’s a good thing. In every walk of life, btw.

So the Stars play on in the meantime- There’s still time for a miracle or an uptick that swings the aforementioned decision making, potentially. Prospects of the latter look sparse this evening, of course.

The Wild are really stinking good.

The big newsy item of dujour up north is the vicious high-stick Jared Spurgeon took from Gustav Nyquist the other night and even more so on the suspension doled out by the league- A paltry six games. Player safety explains:

"This is not an accidental or inadvertent high-stick delivered by a player who is swatting at a puck in mid-air or who simply fails to control his stick in traffic. Rather, as Nyquist stated in a hearing regarding this incident, he acts in retaliation for being cross-checked from behind."

Spurgeon was fine, and will play tonight.

Meanwhile, they’re writing stories about how little the fans have to complain about, and what nits they’ve been picking in Zach Parise’s direction- Or at least had been until recently-

Even as the Wild finally have roared to elite status under new coach Bruce Boudreau, one could still hear and see the familiar, “What the hell is wrong with Parise?”

Parise, 32, is expected to put them in the net, and he had only five before the calendar turned on Jan. 1. With the Wild racing to the top of the West, it was the only thing fans had to complain about — even as Boudreau, not one to mince words, praised his play.

“It doesn’t make me angry, honestly,” Parise said. “I know, for me, that I’m trying as hard as I can, and I’m working as hard as I can. Whether you like me as a player or not, that’s what I know I’m doing.”

Being a Minnesota native and son of the late North Stars favorite J.P. Parise is both boon and bane; we can be hard on our own. [Twin Cities]

In one city- Draft preponderance and coaching change talk. In the other, that^^.

There’s nothing wrong with him, nor anything else with that team. So the Stars will probably surprise us just for fun because narrative and all of that.

Be by the channel at 7:00pm CST tonight on Fox Sports Southwest for more punishment.

From Stars PR:

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

The Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild meet on Thursday night for the fifth and final game between the Central Division rivals during the 2016-17 campaign. Dallas is 1-2-1 this season against Minnesota and lost the only contest played so far played at Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 11, with the Wild recording a 4-0 victory. In the most recent game of the season series on Jan. 24 at American Airlines Center, the Wild defeated the Stars in shootout, 3-2. Forward Patrick Eaves lit the lamp (1-0=1) with 19:39 remaining in the third period to tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime. Forward Jason Spezza notched a game-high two points (0-2=2) and forward Tyler Seguin (1-0=1) potted his 17th goal of the season. In four games this season against Minnesota, Jason Spezza (0-4=4) and Tyler Seguin (2-2=4) share the team-lead with four points.

OH CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!

Captain Jamie Benn notched two points (1-1=2) on Tuesday night against the Jets and now has points in four consecutive games (3-4=7) and three-straight multi-point outings (2-4=6). Benn notched his 500th career NHL point with a goal in the second period of Tuesday's game and now has a total of 501 points (211-290=501) in 562 NHL contests. Benn ranks second on the Stars and shares 11th in the NHL with 53 points (19-34=53) in 54 games this season. Among club leaders, he ranks first on the team with 34 takeaways, is tied for first with two game-winning goals and shares fifth with 70 hits. Away from American Airlines Center this season, the captain is riding a three-game point streak (3-2=5) and ranks second on the club with 22 points (9-13=22) in 25 road games. The native of Victoria, B.C. has a three-game point streak vs. Minnesota (1-2=3) and points in 11 of his last 12 games vs. the Wild (4-12=16). Benn has inked in the scoresheet in four of his last five games (1-5=6) at Xcel Energy Center. Over his NHL career, he has 27 points (11-16=27) in 30 games against the Wild.