STARS (3-1-2) at DEVILS (3-2-1)
TV: FS-SW, MSG PLUS
Season series: The New Jersey Devils won both games against the Dallas Stars last season behind goaltender Cory Schneider, who made 26 saves in a 1-0 victory Jan. 9 and 14 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory Jan. 30. The Devils are 28-28-3 all-time against the Stars.
Stars team scope: The Stars have won three of their past four games. Forward Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip) and defenseman Sergei Gonchar (ankle) are expected to miss the next two road games, according to the Stars website. Defenseman Alex Goligoski, who sustained a skate cut near his ear in the third period of a 6-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, returned to practice Thursday and is expected to play. Coach Lindy Ruff made some line adjustments at practice Wednesday, splitting up Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza. Colton Sceviour was working with Benn and Seguin while Spezza centered the second line with Erik Cole and Ales Hemsky. Ruff said, however, that those combinations aren't set in stone. "The offensive side of the game has been good," Ruff told the Stars website. "At the same time, if teams go into a little bit of a lockdown against our top line we'll be ready to try to split them up and give them a couple different looks."
Devils team scope: If the Devils are going to have any success this season, they need to be better on the penalty kill. Entering play Thursday the Devils were 28th in the League and have allowed five power-play goals in 12 shorthanded situations in their past three games. Not coincidentally, the Devils lost all three games, including a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday when they allowed two power-play goals in three opportunities. "I think we've got to get back to doing what we do best on the [penalty kill] and that's being aggressive and being hard to play against and taking advantage of opportunities to be aggressive," coach Peter DeBoer told Northjersey.com. "I think what happens is, like different parts of your game, when you get scored on early you lose a little confidence, you tend to sit back a little bit more and a lot of times that's totally counterproductive." DeBoer said he'll decide Friday if forward Martin Havlat (facial lacerations) can play. Havlat didn't have a point or a shot on goal in 14:10 of ice time in the loss to the Rangers. Right wing Jordin Tootoo (sore foot) will miss at least the next two games, according to the Devils. Damien Brunner was filling in for Havlat alongside Mike Cammalleri and Patrik Elias during practice Thursday.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mikemorrealeNHL