Stars, Wild tangle in Big D

( – The Dallas Stars will try to post their longest winning
streak of the season and snap a lengthy drought at home on Saturday afternoon
as they play host to the Minnesota Wild.

The Stars are coming off consecutive road wins over Arizona and Los Angeles on
the heels of dropping seven straight (0-5-2). It marks the third time this
season Dallas has won two straight and for the first time since Oct. 21-24.

After edging the Coyotes 4-3, the Stars blanked the Kings 2-0, with Kari
Lehtonen making 27 saves for his first shutout of the season and 28th of his

Ryan Garbutt and Jason Spezza scored for the Stars.

“It was a great road game by us and our goaltender had a really great game,”
said Spezza. “That first win to stop a losing streak is tough to get, but once
you do it really helps with the confidence.”

Dallas hopes that confidence can get the club on track at home, where it has
lost five straight and has not won since Oct. 21, but has dominated the Wild

Though the Stars lost a 4-1 decision in Minnesota on Nov. 1, they have beaten
the Wild in three straight and 19 of the past 20 meetings in Dallas.

Dallas lost forward Patrick Eaves to a lower-body injury in the win over the
Kings, but could have forward Travis Moen available for the first time since
acquiring him from Montreal for defenseman Sergei Gonchar on Tuesday.
Immigration issues had held up his joining the club.

The Wild are hoping to make it two wins in a row today as they snapped a four-
game slide with Thursday’s 6-3 decision over the Buffalo Sabres. Minnesota had
scored just four times over the skid, but saw Nino Niederreiter nearly match
that on his own versus the Sabres with his first career hat trick.

“It’s a great feeling to get my first career hat trick,” said Niederreiter.
“At the end of the day, I feel like we did a lot of good things tonight.”

Kyle Brodziak, Ryan Carter and Jared Spurgeon also lit the lamp for the Wild,
while Charlie Coyle and Justin Fontaine each chipped in a pair of assists.

Darcy Kuemper was yanked 6:24 into the contest after allowing goals on the
only two shots he faced, but Niklas Backstrom picked up the win in relief by
making 25 stops the rest of the way.

“I don’t care what the opponent says or what their record is, it’s difficult
to win in this league,” said Carter.

Spurgeon had a goal in his return to the lineup after missing five games in a
row due to a shoulder injury and was thrust right back into heavy action with
fellow defensemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella missing the game due to