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  • A playoff match-up with the Stars would be difficult, but not impossible for the Wild




    We all know how that one ended.

    Fast forward to December 21st and the Wild, again, jumped out to a 2-0 lead using the same techniques by going to work on the Stars' defensemen that hate playing in their own zone. Antti Niemi even had to come in to the game to relieve Kari Lehtonen that game. You would have hoped that the team would have learned from its mistake after losing a game that it had firmly in its control less than a month prior, yet, the Wild took a couple back-to-back penalties that allowed the Stars to find their game. The Stars controlled the game almost the rest of the way and Minnesota again relinquished the lead, to eventually lose 6-3. Mind you, the last two goals of the game were of the empty-net variety for Dallas, but the Wild had to do everything to try and play catch up in the final minutes of the game.

    The match-up is intriguing as the Wild, in doses, have shown that it can play with Dallas at 5-on-5. Though, when you look at special teams, it's way uglier than that. Dallas has potent power play - currently ranked 3rd in the league with a 22.3 percent convergence rate - and the Wild has an awful, though better as of late, penalty kill. Ranked 27th in the league currently, the PK hasn't help the squad against Dallas in any way, shape, or form. Minnesota has given up four power play goals being short-handed just 13 times in those games.

    The Wild also hasn't had the benefit of getting drawing penalties against the Stars. With just 10 power play opportunities, the Wild only has one goal with the man-advantage versus Dallas. Not mentioning the Wild's league-mediocre power play at number 12.

    The Wild is on the short end of the stick in just about every major possession stat. Its been out-shot, out-attempted, and has less scoring chances at 5-on-5, yet the Wild have the edge in goals at evens. The match-up with the Stars would be an uphill climb. The Stars are a tough team to beat, but they can be beaten. Minnesota just has to play a full game where they grind on those defensemen all game long. Then add in the Old versus New dynamic that would be fun to witness as fans from each fanbase don't much care for each other.

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