Stars shoot for series clincher over Wild
Dallas has only won two of its last six potential series-clinching contests. Those groups from yesteryear, however, never had such a vise grip on the goings-on at the American Airlines Center.
The 2015-16 Stars aim to continue their remarkable success at home – and eliminate the Wild – in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Handicappers at online sports book BetDSI give Lindy Ruff’s crew odds of -185 to move on to the second round without delay, whereas Minnesota enters as a +165 underdog.
After a brief misstep in the Twin Cities to begin the week, the No. 1 seed gutted out a 3-2 victory on Wednesday. Forwards Jason Spezza and Patrick Eaves got the renowned power play back on track early, and goalie Antti Niemi stopped the final 14 shots he faced. Dallas’ co-No. 1 netminder may even start ahead of Kari Lehtonen again at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Whatever happens between the pipes, though, one thing’s a given: this team’s overall prowess in the Lone Star State. The Stars boasted the best home record in the West at 28-11-2 during the regular season and have surrendered eight goals in their last seven overall at the AAC. A triumph tonight would be the squad’s ninth in a row there.
Wild coach John Tochetti must receive contributions from skaters other than Jason Pominville, Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula. That third line boasts a total of 10 points thus far, but top center Mikko Koivu is stuck on a single tally. Candidly, however, it’s just too late for a massive overhaul. Dallas will overpower Minnesota and prevent the proceedings from returning to the Xcel Energy Center.
FRIDAY NHL FREE PICK: WILD/STARS OVER 5 GOALS