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Devils, Stars seek to break out of slumps

Thursday, 01.09.2014 / 2:16 PM

STARS (20-15-7) at DEVILS (17-18-9)

TV: FS-SW, MSG PLUS

Last 10: Dallas 5-3-2; New Jersey 4-3-3

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils. The final regular-season game is Jan. 30 in Dallas. The teams split a two-game series in 2011-12.

Big story: Defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Trevor Daley returned to the Stars' lineup on Monday in a 7-3 loss against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Gonchar had missed the past six games with a concussion and Daley missed 14 in a row with an ankle injury. Gonchar, who was paired with Kevin Connauton much of the evening and earned 18:35 of ice time, had three hits, three blocked shots and a minus-2 rating. Daley, who was with Jordie Benn, generated three shots, blocked a shot and had a plus-1 rating in 19:35 of ice time.

Team Scope:

Stars: Dallas lost its third straight on Monday and has been outscored 18-8 during that stretch. The Stars' 7-3 loss to the Islanders marked the first time this season they allowed seven goals in a game and the first time since 1996 they have given up 18 goals in a three-game stretch. The Stars were outshot 43-23, outhit 36-15 and lost the faceoff battle 45-27.

"We were outskated, we couldn't win one-on-one battles. They basically looked like we usually look," coach Lindy Ruff told The Dallas Morning News. "Their legs were better, their energy level was better, their puck management was better. That might have been our worst game of the year."

Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (16-10-8, 2.68 goals-against average, .914 save percentage) has allowed 14 of the 18 goals over the past three games.

Devils: In a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Jaromir Jagr had the primary assist on Adam Henrique's goal just 57 seconds into the game to notch his 1,723th career point, tying former teammate Mario Lemieux for seventh-place on the NHL's all-time scoring list. The Devils, who lost their third straight, have done a commendable job defensively this season but have scored just 13 goals in the past seven games. New Jersey has allowed the fewest shots per game (24.9) in the League but has averaged 2.34 goals per game to rank 26th.

"It's kind of mind-boggling a little bit because we are better than what the results on the ice are," goalie Martin Brodeur said. "What's the answer? I don't know. We're not playing bad hockey. I don't know if our depth is something to be questioned. It's just a matter of maybe a goalie making a save that you're not supposed to make, or you score a goal you're not supposed to get."

Who's hot: Henrique has scored four times in the past six games and now has 10 goals, which ranks third on the team behind Michael Ryder (14) and Jagr (13). … Stars captain Jamie Benn has six goals and nine points in the past nine games.

Injury report: Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas (leg) is out and defenseman Aaron Rome (lower body) is questionable. … Devils left wing Patrik Elias (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Monday. Forward Damien Brunner (knee) and defenseman Peter Harrold (foot) are out.

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