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Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 12:49 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected Lineups: Kings at Stars

DALLAS --- Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

KINGS
Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
Dwight King-Mike Richards-Jordan Nolan
Kyle Clifford-Andrei Loktionov-Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson-Colin Fraser-Trent Hunter

Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell-Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez-Matt Greene

Jonathan Bernier (starter)
Jonathan Quick

Scratches: Davis Drewiske, Dustin Penner, Kevin Westgarth.

Injuries: Simon Gagne (concussion), Scott Parse (hip), Jarret Stoll (lower body).

Notes:  Los Angeles heads into Dallas at the end of a six-game road trip. The Kings are 1-3-1 in the first five games of that trek, falling 2-1 in overtime at the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. LA is 2-3-4 in the second leg of a back-to-back this season and the Kings are 11-8-7 on the road this season. Darryl Sutter’s club has scored just five goals in the first six games of their current road trip and is currently on a two-game losing streak. Sutter likely gives Jonathan Bernier the start in goal and he is 1-2-1 in his four starts in the second game of a back-to-back this season with a goals-against-average of 2.52.

STARS
Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Tomas Vincour
Loui Eriksson-Mike Ribeiro-Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen-Tom Wandell-Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski-Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman-Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen-Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Jake Dowell, Adam Pardy.

Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body), Sheldon Souray (foot).

Notes:  Dallas had Saturday off, one day after falling 3-2 at Buffalo in a shootout to finish a quick two-game road trip with three of a possible four points. The Stars have won three straight against the Kings after dropping the first two meetings of the season back in October 2011. Sunday’s game will be the final regular season meeting between these Pacific Division foes this year.  Jamie Benn, a 2012 NHL All-Star has seven points (4-3-7) in the first six games of the second half.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars begin grueling stretch trying to hold off Coyotes

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars embark on an 18-day stretch beginning tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes in which they will play 11 games without having consecutive home games at any point. Dallas clearly wants to start off this run on a positive note, but there is a lot more in play surrounding tonight's Pacific Division clash.

That's because after Phoenix beat Detroit 3-1 in Glendale on Monday night, the Coyotes (24-21-8) pulled into a tie with the Stars for the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings with 56 points. The Stars (27-22-2) currently hold the tiebreaker because they have played two fewer games.

First-year Stars coach Glen Gulutzan is well aware how big tonight's game is for his club, especially playing a division rival they figure to be battling the rest of the way for one of the bottom two playoff spots in the West.

"Every game's important for us, but some have different meanings. This is a team we're tied with. This is direct competition. This is a team that wants what we want," Gulutzan said. "This is a bigger game for us. They played last night. We're fresh. This is a real big game for us."

While the Coyotes come into this game on the second end of a back-to-back and in the early stages of a stretch where they play four games in six nights, Dave Tippett's club does have history on their side. The Coyotes are 2-0-1 in their last four games at American Airlines Center, but they are just 12-11-4 on the road this year.

Phoenix is 4-3-1 in the second game of a back-to-back this season, a solid mark. But for Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who spent his last few seasons with the Coyotes, jumping on tonight's foe early is vital, especially with them having played Monday.

"It's an advantage for any team -- a team's coming in back-to-back. With their travel, they get in late. We've been waiting for them and we have to be focused and ready," Fiddler said. "It seems like when we're a little more physical, we're a better hockey team. It's something we're going to start doing tonight."

The Stars last played on Saturday when they beat the Wild 2-1 in a shootout. No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen was stellar, stopping 33 of 34 shots and two of three attempts by Minnesota in the shootout. It was Lehtonen's third consecutive win after a run of four straight losses. He is 4-1-3 with a 1.91 goals-against-average in his nine career starts against Phoenix.

But if there is a key to tonight's game for both clubs, it involves discipline. Phoenix is the least-penalized club in the NHL, averaging just 7.8 minutes per night while Dallas averages 13.1, making them the League's third-most penalized team.

However, should they play a fairly disciplined game and be able to draw some penalties, the Stars' power play could be a factor. Dallas has scored on the power play in three straight games, which ties a season high, and it's a streak the Stars would like to continue tonight.

"I think we have to get a real good start here. We have a lot of games coming up here. There are so many big games coming up," Stars winger Loui Eriksson said. "We have to play well to make it to the playoffs. Starting today against Phoenix, it's a four-point game for us here. If we win, we can get two extra points against them before we go on a road trip here with a lot of games coming up, so it's going to be an important game."
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:55 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Coyotes vs. Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night’s game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

COYOTES

Ray Whitney-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Raffi Torres-Daymond Langkow-Mikkel Boedker
Larui Korpikoski-Boyd Gordon-Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt-Kyle Chipchura-Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle-Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Rotislav Klesla
Michael Roszival-Derek Morris

Mike Smith (starter)
Jason LaBarbera

Scratches: Paul Bissonnette, Chris Summers.

Injuries: David Schlemko (foot).

Notes:  The Coyotes beat Detroit 3-1 on Monday night in Glendale, ending a seven-game losing streak against the Red Wings. Martin Hanzal had two goals against Detroit, who has now beaten the Sharks and Red Wings in consecutive games. Dave Tippett’s club is 4-3-1 in the second game of back-to-backs so far this season and has a goal differential of plus-1 in those contests. These clubs have already met three times this year but only once in Dallas, where the Stars won 2-1 in overtime back on Oct. 10. Phoenix is 1-0-1 in the two meetings in Glendale. The Coyotes are 12-11-4 on the road and are 4-4-2 in their past 10 games.

STARS

Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom-Mike Ribeiro-Loui Eriksson
Adam Burish-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen-Tom Wandell-Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray-Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman-Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen-Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Jake Dowell.

Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body).

Notes: Dallas begins a stretch with Tuesday night’s game against Phoenix where it will play in a different building in 11 straight games. There are a number of home games, five to be exact, coupled with six road contests but the Stars won’t have consecutive games in the Lone Star State until Feb. 24 against Minnesota, when they start a three-game homestand. The Stars beat the Wild 2-1 in a shootout Saturday night at American Airlines Center and will be without captain Brenden Morrow, who continues to be bothered by a combination neck/shoulder issue. Morrow will miss a second straight game and also won’t travel for a quick, two-game road trip to Columbus and Buffalo later this week.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 6:45 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

With Morrow out, Stars shuffle lines

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars put captain Brenden Morrow on injured reserve Friday with a combination neck and shoulder issue, which means Glen Gulutzan's team will be without their captain for at least the next week.

"I don't have much on Brenden. His neck was bothering him again, shoulder. He's going to go see the doctor here today and go from there," Gulutzan said before Saturday's game against Minnesota. "That's all I know."

With a vacancy on Dallas' second line alongside center Mike Ribeiro and left winger Loui Eriksson, a 2011 NHL All-Star, it looks like third-line winger Eric Nystrom will be the one to move up as a fill-in for Morrow.

It's a challenge his coach feels he's ready for.

"He's a worker and I think that's going to help (Ribeiro) there too a little bit. With our captain being out, we've got to have other guys step in and do things," Gulutzan said. "When you get injuries, you've got to mix and match and put guys in places that you think they can succeed."


When asked about skating with two new linemates for tonight's game against Minnesota, Nystrom, who spent last season with the Wild, admits it's an opportunity he welcomes. His 15 goals currently rank third on the Stars.

"I'm just excited. It'll be fun. It's a good opportunity to play with a guy like that (Ribeiro). He really loves to dish," Nystrom said. "I've just got to make sure my game stays the same-staying around the net, getting in on the forecheck, playing physical and creating space for (Ribeiro) to do his thing."


Dallas also recalled center Tomas Vincour, who has played 18 games in the NHL this season, from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to fill the open roster spot. Vincour will fill Nystrom's spot on the third line alongside Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.


"He's just going to work," Gulutzan said of Vincour. "It's an opportunity for him to get on a line that likes to work and grind. It's an opportunity for him to play some good, significant minutes."


Tonight's game comes just 13 days after these clubs met at the Xcel Energy Center, a game the Wild won 5-2 by scoring three goals in less than a minute. Dallas expects a similar effort from Minnesota tonight in its building.

"Extremely hard-working team, good defensive team and they're well coached for sure," was how Gulutzan characterized the Wild. "They're going to bring energy into this building that's for sure. They come to work every night and that's the key for us. We're coming to work too."

Dallas forward Michael Ryder, who is tied for the team lead in goals with 18 and will skate in the 600th game of his career tonight, remembers that loss in the Twin Cities well but expects a much better effort this time around at American Airlines Center.


"It was a tough game and we definitely don't forget that. It's getting to the point in the season where we need to get on a little roll and get some points every night. We can't wait until the end of the year. We need to do it right now," Ryder said.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:56 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Wild-Stars

DALLAS – Here are the projected lineups for a game tonight between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

WILD

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Darroll Powe - Erik Christensen - Carson McMillan
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Nick Schultz - Jared Spurgeon
Justin Falk - Nate Prosser
Greg Zanon - Clayton Stoner

Nicklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Scratches: Mike Lundin, Brad Staubitz, Marek Zidlicky.
Injuries: Clayton Stoner (lower body), Mikko Koivu (shoulder), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), Jarod Palmer (concussion).

NOTES: Minnesota is 0-10-4 at American Airlines Center since 2003. These clubs met on Jan. 21 at the Xcel Energy Center and it was the Wild who took the first meeting of the season by a 5-2 margin. The Wild come into this one on a winning note after a 1-0 victory at Colorado on Thursday night. Mike Yeo’s club is 12-12-4 on the road this season. Saturday figures to mark the Minnesota debut of center Erik Christensen, who was acquired in a trade with the Rangers on Friday.

STARS

Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Tomas Vincour - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.
Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body).

NOTES:  Dallas placed captain Brenden Morrow on injured reserve on Friday and he is expected to miss about a week. Morrow has been recently bothered by a neck and shoulder issue and didn’t play in the final game before the All-Star break against Anaheim on Jan. 24. Center Tomas Vincour has been recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to give Glen Gulutzan a full roster. The Stars split their two-game road trip to Anaheim and San Jose earlier this week, beating the Ducks 6-2 on Wednesday but falling 5-2 to the Sharks on Thursday, keeping them winless on the tail end of back-to-backs so far this season.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:39 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Nystrom expected to replace injured Morrow for Stars

DALLAS – On Friday night, the Dallas Stars (26-22-2, 54 points) announced they had put Brenden Morrow on injured reserve with a neck and shoulder issue, which means Glen Gulutzan's team will be without their captain for at least the next week.

"I don't have much on Brenden. His neck was bothering him again, shoulder. He's going to go see the doctor here today and go from there," Gulutzan said. "That's all I know."

And with a vacancy on Dallas' second line alongside center Mike Ribeiro and All-Star left wing Loui Eriksson, it looks like third-line winger Eric Nystrom will be the one to move up as a fill-in for Morrow.

It's a challenge his coach feels he's ready for.

"He's a worker and I think that's going to help (Ribeiro) there too a little bit. With our captain being out, we've got to have other guys step in and do things," Gulutzan said. "When you get injuries, you've got to mix and match and put guys in places that you think they can succeed."

When asked about skating with two new linemates for tonight's game with Minnesota (25-19-7, 57 points), Nystrom, who spent last season with the Wild, admits it's an opportunity he welcomes. His 15 goals currently rank third on the Stars.

"I'm just excited. It'll be fun. It's a good opportunity to play with a guy like that (Ribeiro). He really loves to dish," Nystrom said. "I've just got to make sure my game stays the same-staying around the net, getting in on the forecheck, playing physical and creating space for (Ribeiro) to do his thing."

Dallas also recalled center Tomas Vincour, who has played 18 games in the NHL this season, from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to fill the open roster spot. Vincour will fill Nystrom's spot on the third line alongside Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.

"He's just going to work," Gulutzan said of Vincour. "It's an opportunity for him to get on a line that likes to work and grind. It's an opportunity for him to play some good, significant minutes."

This game comes just 13 days after these clubs met at the Xcel Energy Center, a game the Wild won 5-2 after scoring three goals in less than a minute. Dallas expects a similar effort from Minnesota tonight in their building.

"Extremely hard-working team, good defensive team and they're well coached for sure," is how Gulutzan characterized the Wild. "They're going to bring energy into this building that's for sure. They come to work every night and that's the key for us. We're coming to work too."

Stars right winger Michael Ryder, who is tied for the team lead in goals with 18 and will skate in the 600th game of his career tonight, remembers that loss in the Twin Cities well but expects a much better effort this time around at American Airlines Center.

"It was a tough game and we definitely don't forget that. It's getting to the point in the season where we need to get on a little roll and get some points every night. We can't wait until the end of the year. We need to do it right now," Ryder said.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 2:36 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Ducks want to keep the wins coming

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks (18-22-7, 43 points) will look to continue their nine-game unbeaten streak with a win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Bruce Boudreau's club is 8-0-1 over its last nine games, a run of positive results that includes a 5-2 win over the same Stars on Jan. 10 at the Honda Center.

Anaheim's coach has no illusions about how rare such a good run of form is in today's National Hockey League.

"I think it has more to do with staying at a level to win, which is difficult. That's why there's not a lot of winning streaks of this nature during the course of a year," Boudreau said. "It's tough to win. Early on, teams said we're playing the Ducks. Now teams say they're playing pretty well. We'd better be ready for them. We want to be the ones to end it."

For Ducks forward Corey Perry, the 2011 Hart Trophy winner, his club's recent streak is something he chalks up to one simple fact.

"Yeah, I think everybody's starting to buy into the system. Everybody's buying into what Bruce is preaching every day," Perry said. "You look at the way we've been winning games and it starts right in our own zone -- playing tight defense and eliminating the turnovers we had in the first half of the year."

The Ducks head into tonight's game two days removed from a 3-2 win over Colorado, a game where starting goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped a season-high 43 shots to pick up his fifth straight win between the pipes.

"I don't think we played our best, but Hiller did. This was a game the goalie needed to steal you one," Boudreau said. "We just hope it doesn't become a trend. I just thought our guys looked a little tired, maybe a little more mentally tired than they were physically tired, but Jonas came up and played tremendous for us."

Tonight's game coupled with Anaheim's first two after the break against Phoenix and a second meeting with Dallas figure to be big should the Ducks hope to climb back into the playoff race, something everyone in the room is aware of.

"We talked about that this morning. It's division opponents and teams you're trying to catch in the standings," Perry said. "These are three huge games for us. Six points are on the line. You could even say 12 points are on the line because it's our division and division teams. We have to be ready to play. We want to get the two points tonight before the six-day break that we have and go into the break on a high. It'd be a good feeling if we could do that."

His coach agrees, but is also keeping things in proper perspective.

"We just want to focus on one thing at a time, and tonight's the only thing we want to focus on," Boudreau said.

But the veteran head coach did admit he and his staff are on guard to prevent his players from looking past tonight's game to the pending All-Star break.

"Yeah, I think we alluded to that this morning a little bit and we'll do it again tonight. We'll do some talking about that for sure," Boudreau said.

   

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 2:15 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

In need of win, Stars hope for boost from Ribeiro

DALLAS -- It's no big secret that the Dallas Stars (24-21-2, 50 points) need a win in a big way. Dallas is currently on a five-game winless streak, a run that has seen both their record at home and on the road fall below .500.

The Stars have also not won at home since Jan. 7, going 0-2-1 in their last four at American Airlines Center and making tonight's game with the Anaheim Ducks pretty huge.

"We've played a few games here through this stretch with some good intensity. The way Anaheim's playing we're going to have to come out hard," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We're looking for a 60-minute effort from all our guys."

Dallas will get a boost from the return of top centerman Mike Ribeiro, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury.

Gulutzan said Ribeiro is ready to go, but the veteran center wasn't quite so sure.

"Good, it feels good out there. Just see after the warm-up (before the game)," Ribeiro said. "This morning, it was a little tight when I got up. First 10 minutes, it's tight and then after I'm warmed up, it felt better."

And the one thing the veteran center wants to bring is energy to his club.

"You need to win no matter what or get a point here and there, scratch it out. It's going to be important before the break to get a win to boost the team with a positive before the break. February's going to be crazy for us," Ribeiro said. "It's going to be important to finish (the first half) the right way. It's important for us to win to just get that positive vibe back. If I can play tonight, hopefully I can bring energy for the guys and get guys excited for the game."

However, the Stars will be without captain Brenden Morrow, who is currently bothered by a neck issue, something that reared its head earlier this season and put him out for six games.

With Morrow out, Dallas called up Matt Fraser from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League who had 21 goals and 35 points in 40 games in the AHL. Fraser will skate on the Stars' fourth line alongside Jake Dowell and Tomas Vincour.

"It's exciting," Fraser said of making his NHL debut. "You dream of this day since you start playing hockey. Obviously, it's a step in the right direction for me personally. It's just a small taste. My goal is to be a professional in the NHL."

Dallas will also still be without center Jamie Benn, who will miss a fourth straight game after having his appendix out nine days ago. Benn however will likely skate in the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday in Ottawa.

While the Stars players know they want more than anything to head into the All-Star break on a winning note, they also realize they’re facing a Ducks team that is unbeaten in their last nine (8-0-1).

"Obviously, they've got those big three guys (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan), those three righty skill players, big guys," Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "More importantly, they're playing really good, something like 8-1-1 in their last 10. They're playing obviously their best hockey of the year. Got off to a tough start, but they're kind of rounding into form I guess. It'll be a good test for us tonight."
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 1:48 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

DUCKS
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Rod Pelley - Mark Bell - George Parros

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Deslauriers

Scratches: Nate Guenin.
Injuries: LW Matt Beleskey (hand), G Dan Ellis (groin), RW Devante Smith-Pelly (foot).

Notes: Anaheim is an impressive 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and heads into Tuesday's final game before the All-Star break fresh off a 3-2 win over Colorado on Sunday. Hiller had 43 saves in that win over the Avs, getting the victory in his fifth straight start. Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in that victory, which gives him 9 points in his last nine games. Ryan had a pair of tallies vs. Colorado, giving him 4 goals in his last five and 9 in his last 13.

STARS

Michael Ryder - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Matt Fraser - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.
Injuries: Brenden Morrow (neck), Mike Ribeiro (knee).

Notes:  The Stars head into their final contest before the break on a five-game winless streak. Most recently, Dallas fell 5-2 at Minnesota on Saturday night. Ribeiro, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury, returns to the ice for the first time since Jan. 7 against Edmonton, when he bumped knees with the Oilers' Theo Peckham. Fraser will be making his NHL debut against the Ducks. He had 21 goals and 35 points in 40 games for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. These clubs met on Jan. 10 at the Honda Center with Anaheim prevailing, 5-2.
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Posted On Friday, 01.20.2012 / 1:25 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars look to rebound from tough week vs. Lightning

DALLAS -- It has been a fairly tough week for the Dallas Stars. On Monday night, Dallas fell 1-0 to St. Louis and the next night, saw itsrecord fall to 0-6-1 in the second game of a back-to-back with a shootout loss at home to Detroit.

Add in a tough 2-1 loss to Colorado last Saturday and Dallas (24-19-2, 50 points) is currently riding a three-game winless streak. As the Stars near the All-Star break, they know they need to start getting full points and tonight's game with Tampa Bay (18-23-4, 40 points) represents an excellent chance to do so.

The Lightning head into this one fresh off a huge 5-3 win over reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston on Tuesday, but they haven't won on the road since Dec. 17, 2011 at Columbus.

Still, Stars coach Glen Gulutzan knows that any time you face a club with such talented offensive players like Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos, it will be a sizeable challenge.

"We have guys that have to step up. We have to do it collectively. We have to be smart defensively collectively, and we have to win some areas of the ice to make sure that we try to minimize those guys' impact," Gulutzan said. "They're great players. Outside of having them not playing tonight, they're going to be in it, so we have to do our part collectively."

Dallas will again be without its top-two centermen in Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro. Benn has missed two straight games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Sunday, while Ribeiro has missed five straight with a knee issue.

No matter who they put on the ice, winger Eric Nystrom knows the goal is always the same -- come away from tonight's game with the full two points and head to Minnesota on a winning note in advance of tomorrow night's meeting with the Wild.

"It's huge, obviously," Nystrom said. "Everybody sees the standings and how tight it is. You've got to stick with the herd and have got to find ways to win games. We've been close. We've been playing well, but still, giving up those points is tough to swallow."

Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game:

LIGHTNING
Steve Downie - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Tom Pyatt - Vincent Lecavalier - Martin St. Louis
Ryan Malone - Dominic Moore - Nate Thompson
Pierre-Cedric Labrie - Trevor Smith - Brett Connolly

Eric Brewer - Pavel Kubina
Brett Clark - Matt Gilroy
Bruno Gervais - Brendan Mikkelson

Mathieu Garon
Dwayne Roloson

Scratches: none

Injuries: Marc-Andre Bergeron (upper body), Adam Hall (upper body), Victor Hedman (concussion), Mattias Ohlund (knee), Ryan Shannon (knee), Dana Tyrell (lower body), JT Wyman (upper body)

Notes: Tampa Bay comes off a huge 5-3 win over defending Stanley Cup champion Boston on Tuesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. That victory ended a seven-game winless streak. Now the Bolts look for their first back-to-back wins of the season and also seek to put a hasty end to a six-game winless streak away from home. The last time they won on the road was on Dec. 17, 2011 at Columbus, when they bested the Blue Jackets 3-2.

STARS

Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Adam Burish - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric - Alex Goligoski
 
Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Philip Larsen, Adam Pardy

Injuries: Jamie Benn (appendectomy), Mike Ribeiro (knee)

Notes: Dallas will look to end a three-game winless streak, a run of tough results that has seen the Stars drop a pair of one-goal games and, most recently, fall in a shootout to Detroit. The Stars have not beaten the Lightning in regulation in Dallas since Nov. 20, 2000, when they handed the Bolts a 6-2 defeat at Reunion Arena. Gulutzan's club has a 3-3-1 mark on the first day of back-to-backs this season and will play at Minnesota on Saturday. Larsen has been activated from injured reserve but won't make his return until Saturday against the Wild.

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Quote of the Day

The fans love it, and it looked like they were having fun. It was great to see this city [Columbus]. They had been waiting a couple years for this game. They did it right.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday