The Dallas Stars’ dynamic offensive tandem of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin didn’t practice on Monday, and one of them is questionable for Tuesday’s game with the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center.
Benn missed practice after sustaining a broken nose in a 4-3 overtime loss to Washington on Saturday. Dallas had a day off on Sunday and Benn is expected to play versus Minnesota.
“This (not practicing today) was just part of the precautionary after suffering the broken nose,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said on Monday of Benn’s status.
Seguin missed practice Monday with an illness, which Ruff added were flu-like symptoms. Seguin, who is Dallas’ lone 2017 NHL All-Star, is questionable for Tuesday’s visit from the Wild.
“Yeah, there’s concern (he might not play Tuesday),” Ruff said of Seguin. “I think anytime you can’t practice and you’re sick, there’s concern. It depends whether he can eat, sleep, all that goes into whether he could play.”
Young center Radek Faksa also missed practice Monday after sustaining a lower-body injury late in the third period against the Capitals. Faksa returned to the bench but did not make his way on to the ice.
“Yeah, he (Faksa) is going to miss a little bit of time,” Ruff said. “It looks like at least the next two games. It doesn’t look like it’s serious. That’s the good news.”
Dallas (19-20-9) is 12-7-5 at home but one of those seven defeats came Jan. 14 against the Wild, a game where the Stars spotted Minnesota a 4-0 lead.
The Stars stormed back with four unanswered goals to tie the game in the third period, but the Wild prevailed thanks to another goal.
However, the Wild have had their issues with holding leads lately, most recently blowing a 2-0 advantage in what ended up being a 4-2 loss to Nashville at XCel Energy Center on Sunday.
“Obviously, if you want to win a championship, it’s got to get better,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said of his team holding a lead. “Jeez, you can’t do that. You got to be able to play with the lead. It’s tough to play with the lead in this league because it’s like the prevent defense in football, it never seems to work. You’ve got to go after them and try to increase the lead rather than hold the lead it seems.”
Wild forward Zach Parise, who did not play for Minnesota in its six-game loss to Dallas in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring, definitely doesn’t want to see a repeat of the Nashville game on Tuesday.
“When you give yourself a two-goal lead, you can’t let them hang around. You got to get that third one and put them out of the game. We weren’t able to do that,” Parise said of the Nashville loss on Sunday.
Minnesota (30-11-5), which is 14-5-5 on the road and 9-4-2 against the Central, was without captain Mikko Koivu (illness) against Nashville. However, Koivu traveled with the team to Dallas on Monday and figures to be back in the lineup Tuesday.
As Central bunkmates who face one another quite frequently, the Wild and Stars are two teams that are quite familiar with one another.
So, Stars center Cody Eakin knows exactly what to expect from this fourth meeting of the season against the Wild.
“They’re kind of firing on all eights. We got to match their speed and work ethic and their game from front to back,” Eakin said on Monday.
And when playing a team firing on all cylinders, the importance of a strong start is something which can’t be stressed enough from Dallas’ standpoint.
“No, nothing can be overstated,” Eakin said. “You can’t take penalties. You’ve got to have a good start, match their work ethic and put the puck in the net. And if you get a power play, you’ve got to capitalize.”
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