With newcomer Matt Moulson in the mix, the Minnesota Wild look to extend their longest winning streak of the season.
The veteran forward is expected to make his Wild debut as they try for a sixth straight victory Saturday night and a rare road win over the Dallas Stars, who will honor the franchise star that began his career in Minnesota.
Moulson will play for his third team this season after the Wild (34-21-7) acquired him and gritty center Cody McCormick from Buffalo for two second-round picks and forward Torrey Mitchell on Wednesday. The three-time 30-goal scorer had 17 along with 21 assists in 55 games this season for the Sabres and New York Islanders, who had traded him to Buffalo in October.
"I’m always open-minded. I don’t have anything set in stone for me," said Moulson, who enters with a six-game point streak. "The Wild are obviously a great team and I just hope that I can be a part of this team going forward and winning a championship."
Minnesota is the wild-card leader in the Western Conference and five points ahead of eighth-place Dallas (30-23-10), but was looking to boost an offense which is among the league’s worst at 2.35 goals per game.
"We’re trying to get to a place where we have at least three lines that can score and play defense," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "You need to have more than one line that you can rely on."
Moulson will play in Dallas for the second straight game after recording two assists in the Sabres’ 3-2 loss there Monday. He scored twice against the Stars in his Buffalo debut Oct. 28 and had his only career four-goal game at Dallas in 2011.
Another player who will be in a Wild uniform for the first time is Ilya Bryzgalov, expected to back up Darcy Kuemper after being acquired from Edmonton on Tuesday. Bryzgalov went 5-8-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average in 20 games for the Oilers.
Kuemper has a 1.17 GAA during the five-game winning streak, but Minnesota needed some insurance in goal after shutting down the injured Niklas Backstrom and with Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) still out.
The Wild scored eight goals to win the first two meetings at home against the Stars, then put only 18 shots on Kari Lehtonen in a 4-0 loss at Dallas on Jan. 21. The Stars have won 18 of 19 at home in the series.
Dallas will try to match a season high with its third consecutive home victory on the same night it retires the No. 9 jersey of Mike Modano, the franchise leader in goals and assists. He was drafted No. 1 overall in 1988 by the North Stars, who would move to Texas five years later and were later replaced in Minnesota by the expansion Wild.
Perhaps the future face of the franchise, Tyler Seguin recorded a hat trick and had two assists in Dallas’ 6-1 home rout of Vancouver on Thursday. Seguin, the team leader with 28 goals and 63 points, has three hat tricks to tie Modano and Bill Guerin for the single-season club record.
Seguin is excited to be part of Modano’s special night.
"It’s awesome," Seguin said. "I talk a lot with him when he comes to games. He tells me a couple of things about my game."
Seguin has never scored in five games against Minnesota.
It’s uncertain when goalie Tim Thomas will make his Stars debut after they acquired him from Florida for backup Dan Ellis on Wednesday. Seguin’s former teammate in Boston, Thomas is 16-20-3 with a 2.87 GAA this season.
He will back up Lehtonen, who has a 1.71 GAA during a 7-2-1 home stretch.