January 20, 2013
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota
Season series: First of three meetings. After the Wild claimed a 5-2 win in their opening matchup last season, the Stars took the next three, including a 25-save shutout performance from Kari Lehtonen for a 1-0 victory in the most recent meeting on March 13, 2012.
Big story: It's always an occasion when the franchise formerly known as the Minnesota North Stars returns to town, and on Sunday both teams will take the Xcel Energy Center ice looking for a 2-0-0 start. With the Stars and Wild both intent on working their way back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a shortened season, early momentum can't be understated.
Stars: Father Time apparently hasn't caught up with Jaromir Jagr just yet. In his first game since signing with Dallas a free agent, Jagr, who turns 41 in less than a month, put together a four-point night Saturday in a 4-3 win against Phoenix. Jagr opened the scoring, and after the Coyotes scored a pair to go in front, he evened things up for the Stars. In the third period, Jagr set up a goal by fellow 40-year-old newcomer Ray Whitney, and then set up the winner by Loui Eriksson with 6:55 left.
"They [Jagr and Whitney] did a really good job there [on the power play]," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "They read off each other. You've got two brilliant minds there. They're chattering all the time, so there's some chemistry going on already with those two. When you've got players of that caliber with that chemistry who can read off each other, you're in good shape."
Wild: Speaking of new faces in new places, the fans in Minnesota got to enjoy the debuts of their own high-profile free-agent signings as Zach Parise and Ryan Suter wore the Wild crest for the first time Saturday in a 4-2 win over Colorado. Parise and Mikko Koivu drew the assists on a pair of goals by Dany Heatley and Suter logged over 27 minutes in front of Niklas Backstrom, who turned aside 25 shots. The go-ahead goal came from Mikael Granlund, who was making his NHL debut.
"I was smiling the day we signed these guys and I'm still smiling," Heatley said of Parise and Suter. "They've added a huge element to our team."
Who's hot: Jagr, Whitney and Eriksson combined for eight points (four goals, four assists) in the Stars' win on Saturday. Lehtonen was sharp, making 37 saves. … Heatley, Parise and Koivu combined for 16 of the Wild's 35 shots against the Avalanche. Parise had a game-high eight shots, one of which was deflected in by Heatley for his second goal.
Injury report: Dallas defenseman Aaron Rome (groin) was out of the lineup in the season opener. … Minnesota is expected to be without defensemen Jonas Brodin (upper body) and Marco Scandella (groin) until around the end of the month.
Expected In Goal:
(Not yet confirmed as of post time.)
This point has been edited by Erik C.: 21 January 2013 - 07:14 PM