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Boston
Bruins
41-29-12
Dallas
Stars
45-30-7

25 SOG
18 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
BOS
DAL
game preview

Bruins-Stars Preview

Friday, 10.05.2007 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett believes his team needs better goaltending to be successful. The Boston Bruins probably feel the same.

The Stars look to rebound from a season-opening loss on Friday night when they host the Bruins, who play their first game under new coach Claude Julien.

A late rally wasn't enough as Dallas opened its season Wednesday with a 4-3 loss at Colorado.

Marty Turco gave up four goals on 17 shots through the first two periods before turning away all six shots in the third.

"We're going to need better goaltending than that," Tippett said. "We have to if our team is to succeed."

Turco figures to start Dallas' home opener, but Tippett could go with backup Mike Smith, who was 12-5-2 with a 2.23 goals-against average during an impressive rookie season.

Tippett also wasn't pleased with his team's energy at the start.

"You have to have the urgency before that," he said. "To win in this league you have to commit to winning one-on-one battles and creating space for yourself by skating. We didn't have enough players doing that."

Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen and Niklas Hagman scored for the Stars, who were unable to get the equalizer in the final seconds despite pressure in Colorado's zone.

Dallas was without center Mike Ribeiro because of a high ankle sprain. Ribeiro, the team leader with 59 points last season, is expected to miss at least another week.

Mike Modano was held without a point, leaving him at 1,226 for his career. He is seven points shy of passing Phil Housley for the all-time lead among U.S.-born players.

The Stars were one of the league's best home teams in 2006-07, going 28-11-2 at American Airlines Center. This will be their first home game against the Bruins since Oct. 15, 2003.

Julien was head coach of the first-place New Jersey Devils until he was abruptly fired with three games left in the regular season last April.

Julien replaces Dave Lewis in Boston, becoming the third coach of general manager Peter Chiarelli's 16-month tenure.

In their only season under Lewis, the Bruins (35-41-6) finished last in the Northeast Division and missed the playoffs for the second straight season. They gave up 70 more goals than they scored, ranking 29th overall in team defense.

"We're aiming for more cohesiveness as a unit this year and by getting that it will make us a tougher team to play against," Julien said. "This will be a much better team than most people expect."

Solving Boston's unsettled goaltending situation remains Julien's top priority.

The Bruins were one of four teams last season to use five goaltenders, finally settling on 32-year-old Tim Thomas as its starter after prospect Hannu Toivonen failed to win the job.

Although Thomas performed admirably behind a weak defense, the Bruins acquired Manny Fernandez from Minnesota on July 1. Fernandez was 22-16-1 with a 2.55 GAA in 44 games with the Wild, but missed more than a month with a knee injury and lost the starting job to Niklas Backstrom.

Julien has not said whether Fernandez or Thomas would start Friday, or how he would divide time between the two goalies.

"They both had decent camps," Julien said. "They played well enough. I'm sure there were some areas, some goals they would like to have back. I don't think one stood out more than the other."

Julien has plenty of offensive talent at his disposal, particularly at center where the Bruins boast Marc Savard (96 points), Patrice Bergeron (70 points) and Phil Kessel, the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft.

A better season from top defenseman Zdeno Chara would help alleviate some of the pressure on Boston's goalies. Chara, entering the second season of a five-year, $37.5 million contract, matched a career high with 43 points last season but was a minus-21.

Boston is 0-3-0 with one tie in its past four season openers, but has at least one point in four straight games against the Stars, going 2-0-1 with one draw.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Oct 05 '07BOS 1 at DAL 4N. Hagman
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%