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Dallas Stars Vs. Minnesota Wild: Stars Look Stay Hot Against Wild

(Sports Network) - Minnesota remains on the outside of the playoff picture following last night's shutout loss. A trip to Dallas is the last thing the ailing club needs.

The banged-up Wild will try to snap a 13-game losing streak at American Airlines Center this evening as they visit the Stars, who try to extend a seven-game point streak.

The Wild currently sit in a tie for 10th overall in the Western Conference with 77 points, one point back of the ninth-place Predators and two back of the Kings, who occupy the eighth and final playoff spot. Minnesota missed a great opportunity to move up the standings last night, losing a 4-0 test in Nashville in the opener of a four-game road trip.

Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves for the Wild, who have lost four of their last six and were without Mikko Koivu, Cal Clutterbuck, Clayton Stoner and Cam Barker due to injury. All four are likely to sit out again tonight, but head coach Todd Richards isn't letting his club use that as an excuse.

"These are the guys that we have and we have to figure out a way to play," Richards told Minnesota's website after the loss to the Predators.

The Wild are likely to go with Jose Theodore in net tonight and he is just 3-10-2 with a pair of ties and 3.45 goals-against average lifetime versus the Stars. He has been in net for both of Minnesota's setbacks to Dallas this year: a 4-3 overtime loss in Dallas on Dec. 4 that extended the Wild's losing streak in Dallas and a 4-0 home loss on Jan. 9 that was Minnesota's fifth straight in this series overall.

The Wild haven't beaten the Stars since Nov. 7, 2009 and not in Dallas since a 3-2 overtime victory on March 21, 2003.

The Stars come into this meeting with a 5-0-2 mark in their last seven games, but did drop a 4-3 shootout setback to the Flames on Wednesday in the opener of a seven-game homestand. The point has Dallas seventh overall in the West with 80 points, one up on Los Angeles and just one back of the next three teams in the overall standings.

Dallas was lucky to earn a point after falling behind 3-0 in the first period. Mike Ribeiro, Jamie Benn and Tomas Vincour all scored, with Vincour notching the first of his career, to force overtime and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves.

"It's a positive point, given that we came back from a three-goal deficit, it's not often that you do that," Dallas head coach Marc Crawford told his team's website. "We had a glorious opportunity to win it in overtime, and lost in a shootout, so you can't be disappointed by it."

Benn has scored in a career-best five straight games and he tallied twice in Dallas' victory at Minnesota in January. Backup Andrew Raycroft made 26 saves in the shutout.

Lehtonen, though, is likely to start tonight and is 2-2-0 with a 3.65 GAA versus the Wild.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.