BRUINS (29-15-2) at STARS (21-18-7)
TV: NESN, FS-SW
Last 10: Boston 5-5-0; Dallas 3-6-1
Season series: The Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars wrap up their two-game series. Former Bruins Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley scored in the shootout to lead the Stars to a 3-2 win at TD Garden on Nov. 5.
Big story: Each team has been struggling. The Stars broke a six-game losing streak with a win against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, and the Bruins have lost five of their past eight. Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith will play in Dallas for the first time since they were traded to Boston this summer as part of the deal that brought Seguin and Peverley to the Stars.
Bruins: Boston (60 points) remains atop the Atlantic Division despite its recent cold spell, but the Tampa Bay Lightning (60) and Montreal Canadiens (57) are creeping up. A 4-3 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs (51) on Tuesday meant another division rival gained on the Bruins in the standings. The Boston players know there is little margin for error as they spoke following practice in Wilmington, Mass., on Wednesday before embarking on a two-game road trip that ends against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
"You can feel other teams, their urgency, especially last night playing Toronto, a team that's pushing for a playoff spot, and that's what we're going to see from here on in," Smith said. "It will be good to see some faces [in Dallas], but other than that, it's a business trip."
Stars: A long losing streak can be devastating to a team's morale, but the Stars aren't dwelling on the past after finally earning a 5-2 win Tuesday against the Oilers. Dallas was outscored 26-12 over the six games.
Defenseman Stephane Robidas skated in practice Wednesday for the second time since breaking his leg against the Blackhawks on Nov. 29, although he is taking it slowly with an injury that was supposed to sideline him four to six months.
As for the Stars who will be facing their former Bruins teammates again Thursday, they say they aren't too concerned with that fact.
"It’s any other game, is the way I am looking at it. I’m sure they are, too," Peverley said. "We need the win as much as they do. We’ve got to play our best because we have to continue getting points."
Who's hot: Bruins center Carl Soderberg has a goal and three assists in the past five games. ... Stars left wing Ryan Garbutt has two goals and three assists in the past three games.
Injury report: Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton (mild concussion) is out. Forward Chris Kelly (fractured fibula) has not resumed skating since sustaining the injury Dec. 7 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (right knee surgery) is out for the season. ... Robidas is the only player on injured reserve for the Stars. Forward Ray Whitney did not participate in practice Wednesday, but coach Lindy Ruff called it a maintenance day and said he should play Thursday.