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  • 12/27 RECAP: Wild Return From Christmas Break Strong, Defeat Stars 4-2

    Giles Ferrell

    With the Minnesota Wild just sitting one point out of a wild-card spot coming out of the Christmas break, the onus was on them to come out from the break solid on Wednesday night against Dallas.


    The Wild did just that as they started their post-Christmas schedule with a 4-2 win over the North Stars at Xcel Energy Center, bumping them back up into a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference standings.


    "It was big. We wanted to make sure we closed it out there at the end. You want to take two points, especially in your own division," said center Eric Staal, who tallied his team-high 15th goal for Minnesota in this contest.


    Head coach Bruce Boudreau tried to downplay the crucial nature of the game with his team pregame, but knew it was pretty big when he said after, "It was a huge game. We called it the start of the second half. You get a chance to reset. Its only one game but it is a great divisional start."


    Dallas struck first in the game as Tyler Seguin scored 12:37 into the first thanks to some defensive miscues from Minnesota. The Wild -- who were a bit sluggish to start the game -- looked to be headed into the locker room trailing by a goal, but managed to tie the game thanks to a Jared Spurgeon tip-in goal off a 3-on-2 rush with 41 seconds to play in the period.



    Staal made it 2-1 just 5:12 into the first as he banked one in past Ben Bishop off defenseman Greg Pateryn's skate. Mattias Janmark tied it five minutes later for Dallas on the power play, as Minnesota gave up a rare goal on the penalty kill at home.


    But also in the rare to see column was a power-play goal from Minnesota, and they did so to get the lead back -- which turned out to be the eventual game-winner. Mikael Granlund buried a rebound on the power play -- to which Boudreau sang praises of postgame -- with 6:52 to play in the second.



    "We moved the puck quick and we shot the puck. [Do] Those two things and you're going to have success on the power play," commented Boudreau, on what worked for the Wild power play there to give Minnesota the lead back.


    Minnesota was able to take the lead into the third period, but everyone knew the game was far from over as the Wild have not had the best luck in the third this season.


    However, Minnesota played one of their best third periods of the season and held the Stars to just six shots on goal in the final frame. Dallas was unable to beat Alex Stalock and Jason Zucker was able to add an empty-netter to secure the crucial win for Minnesota.


    "They beared down. Probably our best third in a while," Boudreau noted.


    After back to back losses in Florida and Tampa Bay to end Minnesota's road trip that took them into the Christmas break, Boudreau said on how crucial the break was for the team, "We played eight games in 13 days. Those three days [off] were a big help for us."


    In goal

    Alex Stalock (7-7-1) made 24 saves on 26 shots. Ben Bishop (15-10-2) made 27 saves on 30 shots

    Up Next


    Minnesota stays home and hosts Nashville in the first of back to back games against the Preds to close out 2017 on Friday at 7 PM.



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