New-look Wild visit Dallas for Modano's big night
(SportsNetwork.com) - The well-rested Minnesota Wild will welcome some new faces to the lineup on Saturday, as they aim for a sixth straight win in a road test against the Dallas Stars.
Saturday also will be a big night for Mike Modano, who will have his No. 9 sweater retired by the Stars in a pre-game ceremony.
Modano, who led Dallas to a Stanley Cup title in 1999, began his career playing with the Minnesota North Stars before moving with the franchise to Dallas prior to the 1993-94 season. He is the club's all-time leader in games played (1,459), goals (557), assists (802) and points (1,359).
"This will be pretty climactic, a night that finalizes your impact on the game of hockey here in Dallas and on the organization," Modano said. "It's been a whirlwind career. I've been lucky to spend so many years in one organization, and making an impact on the game of hockey here in Dallas and in Texas. It's going to be tough to get that speech out for sure."
The Wild, meanwhile, haven't played since winning their fifth game in a row with Monday's 3-2 decision over the visiting Calgary Flames.
Minnesota picked up some players via trades since that victory, acquiring goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton on Tuesday before making a move to land Matt Moulson from Buffalo prior to Wednesday's deadline.
Moulson and Cody McCormick were acquired from the Sabres for center Torrey Mitchell, a second-round pick in 2014 and another second-rounder in 2016. Both forwards will play tonight, while Bryzgalov, who only cost the Wild a fourth- round pick, is expected to take a backup role on Saturday before starting Sunday's home game against St. Louis.
Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper is set to make his 16th straight start for the club on Saturday.
Moulson was traded for the second time this season after being dealt from the New York Islanders to the Sabres in October as part of the package to acquire Thomas Vanek. The 30-year-old Moulson had 11 goals and 18 assists in 44 games with the Sabres this season. He has 17 goals and 21 assists in 55 total games with Buffalo and the Isles in 2013-14.
McCormick had one goal, four assists and 45 penalty minutes in 29 games with the Sabres this season.
Moulson expects to begin Saturday's game on a line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle.
"He's a good player," Coyle told the Wild's official web site about Moulson. "You can tell he can put the puck in the net and make plays. He works hard too. He's a great addition to our team. We're all glad to have him. Me and Mikko are just trying to create some more chemistry with him and I think we've done a good job of that so far."
The Wild enter Saturday in seventh place in the Western Conference, five points ahead of eighth-seeded Dallas. The Stars are just one point in front of Phoenix for the West's final playoff berth.
Minnesota recorded a regulation win over the Flames on Monday, as Zach Parise scored the eventual winner in the third period. Kyle Brodziak and Jared Spurgeon also scored for the Wild and Kuemper stopped 21 shots in the win.
"There wasn't a lot going on at times because they're a tough team in the neutral zone and they weren't giving us much," said Parise.
Minnesota is 2-1-0 against the Stars this season, but both of the Wild's wins came on home ice before Dallas recorded a 4-0 victory in Big D on Jan. 21. The Stars have dominated the Wild in Texas, winning 18 of the past 19 encounters at American Airlines Center.
The Stars are coming off a lopsided win over the struggling Vancouver Canucks, as Tyler Seguin fueled Dallas' 6-1 rout with a hat trick and two assists on Thursday. It was the third hat trick this season for Seguin, who tied Mike Modano and Bill Guerin for the most hat tricks in a season in franchise history.
In his first season with the Stars, Seguin has record 28 goals and 35 assists over 61 games.
Jamie Benn supplied a goal and two assists, while Alex Goligoski added a goal and a helper. Ryan Garbutt accounted for Dallas' other marker and Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves for the Stars, who have won two of their last three.
"It's a huge two points for us. We know we had two big games tonight and Saturday, and we didn't want to look past tonight," said Seguin. "So even though it was a higher score than expected that's a huge two points for us."
Although the Stars acquired veteran goaltender Tim Thomas from Florida at Wednesday's trade deadline, Lehtonen is still the club's No. 1 option between the pipes and he expects to get another start tonight.
Dallas is 17-10-6 as the host this season and is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand on Saturday. The Stars will cap the residency on Monday against Columbus.
03/08 11:37:33 ET