The Stars look for their seventh straight win over the Wild as they complete their regular-season series Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
Dallas (35-21-2) hasn’t lost to Minnesota since a 2-1 road defeat on Dec. 19, 2005, but has never swept a season series against the Wild, who joined the league in 2000. Part of the reason for the Stars’ success against the Wild this season has been the defense’s ability to keep the high-scoring Slovaks off the scoresheet.
Gaborik and Demitra missed Minnesota’s 4-3 shootout loss on Dec. 2 with injuries. They played on Jan. 20, but failed to record a point and were both stopped in the shootout en route to a 2-1 defeat. The pair each had an assist on Feb. 6, but the Wild fell 4-2.
Both players have played well recently. Gaborik—the franchise’s all-time scoring leader—has five goals and four assists while recording four straight multipoint games. Demitra, meanwhile, has seven goals and eight assists in a nine-game run.
Despite being limited by a groin injury to just 26 games, Gaborik is second on the Wild with 19 goals, including five game-winners. Demitra is tied for the team lead with 28 assists and is second with 46 points.
Dallas and Minnesota could meet again in the postseason. With 72 points, the Stars are sixth in the Western Conference and just three points ahead of Minnesota (32-23-5), which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot. The Wild have a commanding eight-point lead over ninth-place Edmonton.
The Stars enter this contest looking for their fifth win in six games. Mike Ribeiro and Jere Lehtinen each scored twice, and Marty Turco made 17 saves as Dallas drew closer to San Jose in the Pacific Division standings with a 5-2 win over the Sharks on Sunday.
Dallas is one point behind second-place San Jose. On Jan. 15, the defending Pacific champion Stars trailed the Sharks by seven.
“We’re confident we can keep moving up,” said Ribeiro, who has three goals and two assists in a three-game point streak. “We know where we stand.”
Dallas is still waiting for Ladislav Nagy to start paying dividends. Acquired in a trade from Phoenix on Feb. 12, Nagy has failed to score in two games with his new team and has only three assists in his last seven games in Minnesota.
The Wild stunned Western Conference-leading Nashville with a win on Saturday, but followed that up with a 5-3 loss to St. Louis on Sunday.
“Maybe our belly was full from last night,” Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. “You beat a great team and you feel that things will be easy the next day, but they’re not.”
Gaborik had a goal and an assist and Demitra scored a goal in his fifth straight game, but the Wild squandered a chance to move up the Northwest Division standings. Minnesota is third in the Northwest, one point behind Calgary and three behind division-leading Vancouver.
The Wild have one of the best home records this season at 20-5-4, but are just 3-2-3 there since Jan. 4.