A Sunday afternoon game on national tv is sure to have star power, and the Dallas Stars vs Minnesota Wild meets that requirement. Both teams have deep playoff aspirations, so this game gains more importance as the season shortens daily. What Minnesota has over Dallas is the ability to score large amounts of goals in any game.
Currently, the Wild average 3.67 goals per game, third in the NHL. It’s heavily impacted by the play from superstar Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov leads the Wild in points with 65 on the season. In those 65 points, Kaprizov has a team-leading 24 goals thus far. Combine that with his team- leading 41 assists, and the young superstar is the fuel that makes this team run. He truly is the jumpstart to this potent offensive attack.
Another piece to the Wild’s offensive puzzle is forward Kevin Fiala. Fiala has been on fire of late, with seven points (three goals, four assists) in five games. This team can score throughout its roster, making Minnesota very dangerous for any opponent. The biggest hurdle for this team is finding consistency in their defense and goaltending.
The Wild are averaging 3.12 goals against per game this season, the bottom quarter of the NHL. In the playoffs, defense is a major factor in a team’s success. Whether this team makes trade deadline moves to bolster their lineup or works to improve the current personnel, Minnesota needs to be better on the back end of the puck.
Minnesota is one of the top three teams in the Central Division and a top team in the NHL standings, but the Stars are four points behind in fifth place. This will be a battle for 60 minutes, because a chance to compete in the NHL playoffs continues to be on the line. This Central Division is one of the toughest in hockey, with positions two-through-five being separated by only seven points. It will surely come down to the last few games of the regular season, so points are at a premium.
All in all, the Minnesota Wild have the tools to be one of the top teams in the NHL. They obviously need to figure out their defensive structure and goaltending, but their offense is potent and keeps this team near the top. The game against the Stars is a chance to separate themselves from those chasing them in the Central Division. This game surely expects to be an electrifying contest Sunday in the Twin Cities.