Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
When and Where: Thursday, March 14, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn., 8:05 p.m. EST.
In a huge game with playoff implications in the Central Division, Ben Bishop goes for his fourth straight shutout as the Dallas Stars try to open a five-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the race for wild-card spots when they collide Thursday night
Bishop excommunicating pucks during shutout streak
Dallas (36-28-5) is fourth in the Central Division and currently holds the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 13 games remaining. The Stars are also just two points behind the St. Louis Blues for third place and direct postseason qualification.
The Stars continue to ride Bishop’s hot goaltending as their primary means of staying in playoff positions. Bishoprecorded his third consecutive shutout, running his scoreless streak to 204 minutes and 20 seconds after making 35 saves in a 2-0 blanking of Buffalo on the road Thursday night.
He has the second-longest shutout streak in franchise history, trailing only Ed Belfour’s standard of 219:26 established in November 2000. Bishop has turned aside 104 shots in holding opponents scoreless for 10 consecutive periods and gotten plenty of help from his penalty killers, who have gone 15 for 15 short-handed over the last five games.
The Stars netminder has not blanked the Wild this season, but he has held them in check. Bishop is 2-1-0 with a 1.31 goals-against average this season, yielding just four goals on 88 starts. Bishop is 4-4-0 with a 1.73 GAA and .938 save percentage in eight starts and nine lifetime appearances versus Minnesota.
Offensively, rookie Roope Hintz provided the offense with his first two-goal game. The goals came in a 5:43 span of the second period, with the latter coming on the power play.
Wild trying to get back on track, avoid third straight loss
Though Minnesota (33-29-8) is three points behind Dallas, it is closer to Arizona in the second wild-card spot and enters this contest one back of the Coyotes with 12 games remaining
Minnesota was on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline against San Jose on Monday night, falling to 1-2-2 in its last five games. The power play again sputtered, failing to convert in three chances as the Wild’s drought on the man advantage extended to 18 chances spanning the last six games.
That was a point of focus in practice with the extra practice time before this game.
“It certainly does, not being able to practice the power play, we haven’t had a power-play goal since after Winnipeg and that was after the trade deadline,” coach Bruce Boudreau told the Wild’s official website. “So hopefully tomorrow we can end that streak.
“When we get it set up and make plays, we’re getting a lot of chances; we’re just not scoring, but what we’re not doing is getting second chances, so retrievals are vital in this game,” Boudreau said. “Winning the faceoffs or the first faceoff is vital, and it’s something we’ve been lacking lately.”
Boudreau has not officially named a starting goaltender, but Devan Dubnyk is expected to be between the pipes. He finished with 26 saves in Monday’s loss, which was an improvement after Boudreau yanked him at the first intermission after allowing three goals on nine shots versus Florida.
Dubnyk has nearly matched Bishop save for save in the three meetings between the teams in 2018-19, giving up five goals and stopping 87 of 92 shots while going 1-1-1 with a 1.63 GAA and .946 save percentage. Dubnyk is 8-9-3 with a 2.66 GAA lifetime versus the Stars.
The Wild are:
- 1-8 in their last nine home games.
- 1-10 in their last 11 home games vs. teams with a sub-.500 road record.
- 5-14 in their last 19 games as favorites between -110 to -150.
- The under is 9-2-1 in their last 12 games.
- The under is 13-4 in their last 17 games as home favorites.
- The under is 20-7 in their last 27 games as home favorites between -110 to -150.
The Stars are:
- 6-1 in their last seven games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 4-1 in their last five games vs. Central Division opponents.
- 4-0 in their last four games after scoring two or fewer goals in the previous game.
- The under is 10-2-2 in their last 14 road games vs. teams with a sub-.500 home record.
- The under is 17-5-4 in their last 26 road games.
- The under is 4-0 in their last four games vs. the Wild.