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Preview: Flames vs. Stars

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

STARS (19-5-0) at FLAMES (8-14-2)

TV: FS-SW+, SNW (7:00 PM MT)

Season series: The Dallas Stars won two of three games against the Calgary Flames last season, with each victory coming in Calgary. Jamie Benn led the Stars with two goals and five points. Johnny Gaudreau led the Flames with two goals and an assist.

Stars team scope: This is the second of a four-game trip for Dallas, which has the best road record in the NHL (10-2-0). "We're comfortable on the road," Benn told the Stars website. "We really do play a simple game. Sometimes, when we are at home, we try to do too much. It seems like when we're on the road, we keep it simple, and that's what makes us successful." Goalie Antti Niemi likely will make his fifth straight start with Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve because of an upper-body injury. Coach Lindy Ruff expects Lehtonen to return later this week. Lehtonen, who was injured while playing in relief of Niemi in a 7-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators last Tuesday, fully participated in the past two practices, Ruff said. Ruff was pleased with the play of defenceman Patrik Nemeth in the Stars' come-from-behind 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, his first game since Nov. 2. Nemeth, 23, was recalled Thursday after a conditioning stint with Texas of the American Hockey League. "I thought he played well," Ruff said. "He looked a little bit refreshed. I use the term 'lighter.' He looked lighter to me. He moved more efficient. I thought it was a good game for him."

Flames team scope: Gaudreau missed practice Monday because of the flu, and Sean Monahan left practice early because he was feeling ill. Defenceman Kris Russell and forward Michael Frolik were absent for a maintenance day. Goalie Karri Ramo will make his 13th start in the past 14 games, coach Bob Hartley told the Flames website. Calgary returns home after going 0-2-1 on a three-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks, its lone point coming from an overtime loss to the Coyotes on Friday. The Flames, who are tied with the Edmonton Oilers for 29th in the League standings, begin a five-game homestand. "We know what we have to do," captain Mark Giordano said. "We know where we are as far as standings go. We have to focus on our homestand now. We have a homestand here that if we can pick up some points, it'll go a long way."

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