The Pacific Division champion Dallas Stars look to win their final regular-season home game as they meet a Minnesota Wild team that is wrapping up its second straight season without a playoff appearance.
Dallas is 27-11-2 at American Airlines Center this season, and with a win Saturday, will finish one victory shy of tying the single-season franchise record for most home wins, established by the 1998-99 club that won the only Stanley Cup in team history.
The Stars set a club record with a 3-2 win Tuesday over Columbus.
Dallas took a 3-0 lead into the final period, but the Blue Jackets scored twice late, and goaltender Marty Turco needed to make a save just before time expired to preserve the Stars’ franchise-record 52nd victory.
Columbus’ Rick Nash nearly tied it in the final second, knocking the puck at the net—but into Turco’s right foot.
“The puck was thrown out in front. I deflected it in the air, it went off our defenseman. Nash shoveled it toward the net and it hit me in the toe,” Turco said. “It was a good lesson for us to close out games.”
Dallas has 109 points, tying the 1997-98 club for the third-best total in team history. The Stars—who are locked into the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference—have to win their final three games to top the franchise record of 114 set by the 1998-99 team.
Dallas finishes the season with matchups at Detroit and Columbus.
Minnesota is playing its final game of 2005-06, and will not be in the playoffs for the second straight season after its shocking run to the Western Conference finals in 2002-03.
The Wild, who will finish in last place in the Northwest Division for the fourth time in their five seasons of existence, failed to win three straight games Thursday with a 4-2 loss at Nashville.
Minnesota had won four of its past five and gave goalie Josh Harding his third career NHL start. In his last start, he earned his first shutout with a 2-0 win Tuesday over Chicago on Tuesday.
“Josh played terrific for us tonight,” said Brian Rolston, who scored his 34th goal for the Wild. “We didn’t give him a lot of support.”
Harding was sent to Houston of the AHL on Friday and the Wild recalled goaltender Miroslav Kopriva.
Minnesota has lost its last three visits to Dallas.