ST. PAUL, Minn. — Coach Bruce Boudreau altered Minnesota’s practice plans with a snowstorm hitting the state, having his team come in early for a Friday practice and cancelling Saturday’s morning skate before the evening game against the Dallas Stars.
The lack of a warmup on Saturday worried the coach. It didn’t take long for the Wild to put their coach at ease.
Jason Zucker had a goal and two assists and Alex Stalock posted his second shutout of the season, leading Minnesota to a 7-0 win.
“I worry about everything, but I was worried about that because sitting around the house all day ... but they had a lot of energy,” Boudreau said.
Minnesota has won back-to-back games to start a season-long, seven-game homestand. Stalock, playing his second straight game in place of Devan Dubnyk, made 27 saves.
The seven-goal victory was the most lopsided home win in franchise history and matched the franchise-best mark set in a 7-0 win at Buffalo in 2015.
Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and assist. Jared Spurgeon, Carson Soucy, Ryan Donato and Zach Parise also scored.
“It was a long day for both teams,” Zucker said. “Sometimes you've just got to try to make the best of it. I thought it was the right call to stay (home). It was good that everyone showed up and played the right way.”
Anton Khudobin started in goal for Dallas, but was pulled early in the second period after allowing four goals on 17 shots. Ben Bishop entered and made 12 saves as the Stars lost for the third time in four games.
“Well, we look like a team that had never played together before,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said. “We all did something wrong and to prepare for this game, when you play like that, this is a reflection of our preparation, obviously.”
Minnesota had lost six of seven games and returned home after a disappointing 7-3 loss at Pittsburgh. Back on home ice, where it is 13-5-4 this season, has made all the difference for the Wild. They beat Tampa Bay on Thursday and left little doubt of the outcome against the Stars.
Midway through the first, Dallas forward Denis Gurianov had a breakaway stopped by Stalock. Minnesota scored on the same shift, with Spurgeon posting his fourth goal of the season and first since Nov. 29, a span of 14 games.
The Wild opened the second with a flurry to chase Khudobin, scoring on two of their first five shots of the period.
Zucker was credited with his 13th goal after his pass to the crease deflected off the stick of Stars defenceman Andrej Sekera past Khudobin into the net. Donato scored 33 seconds later.
The Stars don't play again until Jan. 27, and forward Jamie Benn said the break comes at a good time.
“I don’t know what it is but it happened before Christmas, sloppy games, and here we are again," he said. “We’ve got a little while to re-group, rest up and we’ll get back at it in a week.”
Stars forward Corey Perry, who returned in the previous game after being suspended for five games for elbowing Ryan Ellis in the head during the Winter Classic, was given a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct in the third period. He skated past Stalock and made contact with the goaltender’s head, setting off a skirmish between the teams.
“It’s a 6- or 7-nothing game,” Stalock said. “I don’t know why you can’t help yourself there. It’s clearly a knee to the head. It was only a week or two ago it’s not even three minutes into an outdoor game, he elbows a guy in the head. He can’t help himself. Hopefully they look at it. There’s no need for it. He knows he’s wrong. He knows he’s making a bad play. It’s stupid.”
NOTES: Dallas D Stephen Johns returned to the lineup for the first time since March 29, 2018. He had been dealing with post-traumatic headaches. Johns became a regular member of the team’s defensive corps and had 28 points in 150 career games before the headaches started prior to the 2018-19 season. ... The Stars placed F Radek Faska on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 11, with an upper-body injury. He had missed the previous two games. ... Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu was scratched with an illness. ... Dallas D Miro Heiskanen was scratched with an upper-body injury sustained in a collision during the team’s previous game against Buffalo. ... Parise has a goal in three straight games, tallying four over that span.
Stars: Played their final game before the All-Star break. They return on Jan. 27 at home against Tampa Bay.
Wild: Host Florida on Monday.
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