Minnesota Wild: Payback Won’t Come Easy in Dallas

ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 20: Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save in the 3rd period during the preseason game between the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild on September 20, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Stars defeated the Wild 3-1. (Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - SEPTEMBER 20: Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save in the 3rd period during the preseason game between the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild on September 20, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Stars defeated the Wild 3-1. (Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Wild will look to follow-up their solid team performance from Saturday with a trip to Dallas. Who’s In and Who’s Out?

Puck Drop will be at 7:30pm central time from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Minnesota Wild got to face mostly prospects when Dallas came to St.Paul last week, this time will be a tougher go as Dallas is expected to dress a high number of veterans


After sending out a group Saturday very close to what we should expect to see on opening night, tonight will be a shift in the other direction as Bruce Boudreau appears to be trying to sort out the remaining positional battles.

Charlie Coyle will still be dressed, along with linemates Joel Eriksson Ek and Jordan Greenway, but they are the only ones who likely know exactly where they will end up when training camp finishes next week.

Coyle earned a ton of praise from me for his performance last Thursday against Dallas, despite not scoring, and then built on that on Saturday. After cracking the scoresheet in a big way on Saturday look for him to keep it going in his 3rd consecutive game.

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Sam Anas and Mike Liambas are on the outside looking in, very unlikely to still be in the NHL after the final round of cuts. They are still clinging to an outside chance they can find a way to impress enough to hold onto a roster spot.

Matt Read got a goal on Saturday, and will probably start this game with the same linemates of Marcus Foligno and Eric Fehr. That line looked solid together and could end up being the 4th Line against Colorado on October 4th.

Matt Hendricks and J.T. Brown lined up with Liambas for the last meeting with Dallas, and the pair looked great together despite Liambas being mostly invisible. I’d like to see them get a chance with Kyle Rau beside them in this one, he would be a much better fit for the energy that line was producing.

That leaves the question of Justin Kloos. We here at Gone Puck Wild are all curious on where he could possibly fit in the opening day lineup, if at all. Kloos could find himself centering all 3 pairs of wingers tonight (possibly in varying combinations) as Boudreau tries to evaluate how to fit him in.

Monday should be very much a roster shuffling kind of night. Boudreau seems to be the type to set his lineup and not stray too much mid-game, but if he truly wants to get a fair idea of who should be on the 4th line then this is the game to experiment.


Nick Seeler earned praise from me similar to Coyle after last Thursday’s game with the Stars. He and partner Greg Pateryn sat out Saturday’s game, but will be back to try to shut down some of Dallas’s bigger offensive weapons.

The rest of the defense is in the same position as the offense for this game. 4 players, all capable of earning NHL rosters spots on other teams in the league, are fighting for who will be the 1 (or 2) sitting in the press box this season.

Ryan Murphy has had a strong preseason, and looks like he may be regaining his confidence in a bid to earn a roster spot. He may be too far down the line though to lock that in quite yet.

He’ll likely be back with Nate Prosser after that pairing did well together on Sunday against Colorado. Both are right handed shot defensemen, so there is a possibility they get split to play with the 2 lefties on the other pair.

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Matt Bartkowski has impressed the coaches in his preseason appearances so far, and is trying his best to beat out Prosser and Murphy for a spot at the NHL level. I don’t think he’ll get it, but he’s definitely making the decision difficult.

Carson Soucy rounds out the bunch, and while he was a preseason consideration for that final roster spot he is being clearly outshined by the rest of this group.

Soucy should be looking to atone for the mistake which led to Dallas’s Game Winning Goal last time out. He will get a ton of minutes in Iowa this season and should use this NHL experience to solidify himself as one of the first call-ups from the minors.


Devan Dubnyk will draw the start in this one, as he tries to offset the loss to Dallas last week. Dubnyk was 20 of 22 for a .909 Sv% and 2.03 GAA in that performance, holding the team in it until only 4 minutes remaining in the 3rd.

Alex Stalock will be on the bench, in what appears to be the most likely goalie combination for opening night. Following Stalock’s shutout performance on Sunday, it’s hard to believe Andrew Hammond will be able to fight his way onto the bench.

No reason to believe there will be any goalie swapping tonight. Boudreau has made it clear he wants his goalie’s to play the full 60 every game and Stalock earned the rest after his shutout.

Colorado Avalanche

Dallas won in Minnesota with a team of mostly minor league players, and looked relatively competent at hanging with the Wild roster that was set out against them.

Monday in Dallas we can expect to see a lot more of the Stars, well, stars. So the Wild will be in for a bigger test.

Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, and Alexander Radulov are all expected to join Valeri Nichushkin, Blake Comeau, and Radek Faksa in the Dallas lineup.

Potential future Wild killer Miro Heiskanen will be back, looking to expand on his goal streak against our team. He should be on a pairing with Marc Methot again.

Dallas’s potential top pairing of Esa Lindell and John Klingberg will be in the game for this one as well, and should be tasked with shutting down the Coyle line as the top scoring threat.

Anton Khudobin will be back in net to start for Dallas. He went 14 of 14 against Minnesota last week, in only 30 minutes of action before being replaced. Expect Khudobin to get the full 60 minute game this time around.

This will be a tough test for the roster being sent out by Minnesota. A great challenge to let our bottom tier players know where they stand when playing against top tier talent.

The Coyle line against a top pairing defense, and the Seeler/Pateryn pair against a #1 line should be interesting matchups to watch.

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Dallas is going to be a tough matchup this time around. I’d like to see a strong effort from the players competing for a 4th line role. If Justin Kloos, Matt Read, or any of the others can get a goal or 2on the board we are in for a close game. I’m going to say we see a 3-2 Minnesota loss, but the score will be set to start the 3rd and the Wild will battle hard to try to tie late. Here’s hoping I’m wrong!