NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 10th (All times eastern)
Dallas Stars (36-31-14) at Minnesota Wild (38-36-7), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - With the possibility of retirement on the horizon, Mike Modano already gave his fans in Dallas a show. The American-born skater now takes his game on the road, maybe for one last time, as the Stars visit the Minnesota Wild this evening at Xcel Energy Center.
The 39-year-old Modano is a pending free agent and could very well hang up his skates sometime in the future after tonight's game. First, he'll get a chance to play in front of his family, as well as some fans who may remember him from his days as a member of the Minnesota North Stars, who drafted Modano first overall in the 1988 draft.
The Michigan-born Modano came with the team when it relocated to Dallas prior to the 1993-94 season and helped the Stars win a Stanley Cup in 1999. He will also walk away from the game as the all-time leader among American-born skaters with 557 goals and 1,359 assists. However, he has yet to make a decision about his NHL future.
"You have nights like that you think this could keep going and you could play well, things go well for you like that," Modano said. "I don't know if there was fate there, but certainly when you have nights like that it makes you ponder at that decision a little longer."
Modano was the hero on Thursday versus Anaheim, scoring the game-tying goal with 1:47 left in regulation before potting the winner in the shootout in front of fans that encouraged him to return for a 21st season. He has 14 goals and 30 points this year.
"I didn't really have any idea at what to expect or how it was going to play out," Modano said. "It was a nice ending at how it unfolded. It was a nice way to possibly end it."
Another pending free agent who might to be wearing another uniform next year, Marty Turco made 17 saves. A fifth-round draft pick in 1994, Turco will likely be replaced next year as the starting goaltender by Kari Lehtonen, who Dallas acquired from Atlanta in a trade earlier this season and is likely to start tonight.
The Stars snapped a two-game skid but will miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1987 and '88. They are 13-20-7 on the road this season.
The Wild will welcome Modano to St. Paul having snapped a four-game losing streak with Thursday's 2-1 shootout victory over Calgary. Niklas Backstrom started the game and made 27 saves before leaving early after getting hit with the puck in the right collarbone. He was replaced by Wade Dubielewicz, who made five saves and stopped two skaters in the shootout.
"I had a lot of guys playing different positions and different roles and [we] found a way to win," said Wild head coach Todd Richards. "The guys battled and competed extremely hard."
Chuck Kobasew scored in regulation while Brent Burns and Antti Miettinen netted shootout tallies.
Minnesota, which will also miss the playoffs for the second season in a row, is 25-12-3 at home this season.
The Stars have won two of three over the Wild this season as well as seven of the last nine meetings overall. They have lost two straight and four of their last six in Minnesota.
04/10 10:54:04 ET