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Faltering Wild host slumping Stars

The free-falling Minnesota Wild will try to get back in the win column when they host the sliding Dallas Stars in tonight's battle at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild went winless in their recent four-game road trip (0-3-1), dropping them to 2-11-4 over their last 17 games. Minnesota was leading the NHL with 43 points before the disastrous stretch, but the Wild are now ninth in the Western Conference with 51 points on the season.

Meanwhile, Dallas is just one point behind the Wild in the West standings and will try to halt an 0-3-1 slide tonight in St. Paul.

After getting slammed by a 5-1 score Tuesday in Philadelphia, the Wild capped their road trip on Thursday with a 4-1 setback in Toronto. Nazem Kadri scored less than a minute in and the Maple Leafs rolled to the easy win at Air Canada Centre.

Nick Johnson scored Minnesota's lone goal just 2:27 before the end of regulation and Niklas Backstrom stopped 29 shots as the Wild lost their 11th straight road game.

"I've been coaching for quite a while and I've been a part of a lot of games I didn't like and this one ranks right up there," said Wild coach Mike Yeo.

Minnesota has won two of its last three home games and is 12-6-3 as the host this year. Dallas has also lost three of its last five trips to St. Paul, but the former Minnesota North Stars have taken 11 of the previous 14 encounters overall against the Wild.

The Stars dropped both games on a recent two-game homestand, losing Tuesday's shootout decision to Detroit before getting dealt a close regulation loss by Tampa Bay on Friday. Teddy Purcell netted two goals to lift the Lightning to the 2-1 decision at American Airlines Center.

Tom Wandell scored and Kari Lehtonen gave up both tallies on 22 shots in defeat for the Stars, who have lost every game on their current slide by one- goal margins.

"It just wasn't good enough," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "We need points badly, we've gotten one point in our last four games. We needed to win desperately in our own building, but it wasn't good enough."

The Stars are 11-11-0 as the visiting team this year and have lost four of their last six road games.

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