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Scouting Report: Dallas Stars

by Paul Mawdsley / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB — The 2015-16 season has been kind to the Dallas Stars.

The month of November was no exception.

The Stars went 10-3, pushing their record to 19-5-0 on the season, good for first place in the the best Division in hockey; the Central Division.

Coming into Calgary, they will look to extend their two game sinning streak.

The Stars captured both games last season when they visited Scoitabank Saddledome. Both were close games, though. Dallas edged Calgary 2-1 on Dec. 19 and then prevailed 4-3 in a shootout on Mar. 25.

On paper, tonight's match-up looks quite lopsided. Forget about the team records, Calgary has given up a league-worst 87 goals while the Stars have scored more goals (89) than every other team in the NHL other than the Montreal Canadiens.

While the Flames have been stumbling as of late, they have been very good at home, winning their last four on Saddledome ice and have managed strong performances against some of the league's top teams this season.

Leading the Stars will be captain Jamie Benn (18-17-35), his line-mate Tyler Sequin (13-21-34), and stud defenceman John Klingberg (5-22-27).

Those three currently rank second, third, and fifth in NHL scoring, respectively.

The Flames' defence will be tested by the high-flying, high-powered Stars offence.

They will want to avoid giving Dallas an opportunity with the man-advantage as the Stars currently rank second in the NHL with a 27.0 percent power play percentage. That's contrasted with the Flames' penalty-kill percentage of 70.8, 30th in the league. Keeping play even at 5-on-5 will be a key factor for the Flames in this contest.

Dallas

Record: 19-5-0

2015 vs. the Flames: 0-0-0

All-Time vs. the Flames: 65-63-5

Vs. the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome: 25–39-2

Notable Injuries: G Kari Lehtonen

Who’s HOT: Jamie Benn

The Victoria, BC, native has found his stride the past few seasons and has emerged as one of the leagues elite goal scorers. In fact, the Stars captain currently leads the NHL in goals scored with 18. His 17 assists are good for 7th overall. His 35 points place him second in the league behind only Patrick Kane - who is off to a booming start. The 6-foot-2 left winger

Honourable Mention: John Klingberg

Drafted 131st overall in 2010, Klingberg didn’t make his NHL debut until the 2014-15 season where he notched 40 points in 65 games for the Stars. After his big rookie campaign, Klingberg has taken his game to new heights in 2015-16. In 24 games, the Swede has compiled 27 points - fifth most in the NHL. He leads all defenceman in points and ranks second in the league in assists with 22.

Who’s NOT: Valeri Nichushkin

The big Russian winger has not been able to find his footing this year after missing most of the 2014-15 season with a hip injury. His rookie season in 2013-14, Nichushkin recorded 14 goals and 20 assists in 79 games. Through 22 games in 2015, the former 10th overall pick, has only been able to find the back of the net twice, while assisting on four others. At this pace, the third year player would end the season with 22 points -- far below what the Stars would hope for.

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