Minnesota has scratched and clawed for each of its seven goals during a losing streak that has lasted more than two weeks. To have the opposition accidentally kick the puck from behind the net and somehow have it go in seems like a cruel joke.
The Wild understandably aren't laughing after a seventh straight loss that has them heading home down 0-2 with two of their top forwards still nursing injuries.
As for Dallas? The Stars are feeling fortunate that the latest unusual twist during a postseason that has seen plenty of them across the league went their way, and winning Monday night would put them a victory away from advancing past the opening round for the first time in eight years.
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Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk didn't mince words after allowing possibly the strangest goal of his career Saturday. Defenseman Marco Scandella's clearing attempt hit off Stars forward Ales Hemsky, ricocheted off Antoine Roussel's skate and onto Dubnyk's back.
Dubnyk backed into the crossbar attempting to pin the pick so it wouldn't trickle into the net, which came dislodged. The referee waved off the goal before it went to video review. After a long delay, Toronto's replay officials ruled it a goal.
The Stars went on to win 2-1.
"It's embarrassing. It's not even worth the fine to tell you guys what I think about it," Dubnyk said. "Watch the replay. The puck is kicked and somehow they have enough to overturn the ref's call thinking the puck is in the net there. . . . It's mind-blowing that that's the outcome of that play in the playoffs."
Possibly even more embarrassing is the Wild's offensive play recently. They've scored three times in their last five after backing into the playoffs and haven't been able to overcome the losses of Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, who are dealing with upper-body injuries.
Scandella scored on the power play in the third period, Minnesota's only goal on 20 opportunities with the man advantage during its skid.
"We created chances, we battled hard, but that's just the way it is right now," center Mikael Granlund said. "They got the bounce and we didn't. Now it's 2-0 and we go back home and see what's going to happen there."
Dallas, which finished at the top of the Western Conference with 21 more points than the Wild, has won 11 of 13 and eked out a victory after a dominating 4-0 win in Game 1. This is the Stars' second playoff appearance since they advanced to the conference finals in 2008.
Tyler Seguin returned after missing the previous 11 with a small cut to his left Achilles suffered March 17. He didn't get on the score sheet, but coach Lindy Ruff said Seguin's presence was enough.
Jamie Benn's goal early in the third turned out to be the winner, and although the Stars recognize the luck it took to score their first goal Saturday, they're giving plenty of credit to Kari Lehtonen for having the edge in the series.
Lehtonen has a 1.41 goals-against average while winning his last five starts and has stopped 47 of 48 shots he's faced against in the playoffs.
"He's played some good hockey, making big saves at a key time," Benn said. "We're going to take this on the road now. . . . It's just going to get harder. (The Wild's) compete and their will to win is just going to get higher. They're a good team. It's going to be hard to go into their building and get a win. We've got to bring our best up there."
Dallas won all three meetings in Minnesota during the regular season, though, and the Wild have scored three goals while losing their last three at home.