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Preview: Stars at Flames

Dallas center Jason Spezza will miss third straight game; Calgary forward Matthew Tkachuk sidelined with cut on wrist

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

STARS (4-6-3) at FLAMES (5-8-1)
9 p.m. ET; SNF, FS-SW, NHL.TV


Stars team scope

Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza will miss his third consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. Spezza was injured in the second period of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. "He skated yesterday morning and wasn't good," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He can't push it right now. He's trying to push through but he's not there." The Stars have lost three games in a row, are 1-4-2 in their past seven games, 0-3-2 in their past five road games, and are coming off an 8-2 loss at the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. "I think just how we're defending…I think we have to defend harder and we have to defend smarter," forward Tyler Seguin said. "It starts with me with dumb plays, and other guys. We've made some plays that just shouldn't happen." Seguin leads the Stars with seven goals and 14 points. Forward Jamie Benn, who was second in the NHL with a career-high 89 points (41 goals, 48 assists) last season, has two goals and has gone nine straight games without scoring. "No worry," Seguin said. "As long as you get your chances eventually they'll go in the back of the net. There's been some good looks and some good chances. I want to work harder for him and try to create a bit more. Tonight would be a good night to start doing that."


Flames team scope

Rookie forward Matthew Tkachuk will not play for the Calgary Flames after sustaining a cut on his wrist in practice Wednesday. Tkachuk, the No. 6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, has three goals and six points in 12 games. "Not concerning," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "He's going to be day to day. He had a stitch in his hand. He's just not going to play where the stitch is." The Flames have one win and have been held to one goal or fewer in four of their past five games (1-4-0). The struggles mimic the scoring woes of their two top forwards from 2015-16. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan each have one assist in their past five games. In 14 games, Monahan has four goals, one assist and a minus-10 rating, and Gaudreau has two goals, eight points and a minus-11 rating. "Me and Johnny talk every day," said Monahan, who combined with Gaudreau for 57 goals and 141 points last season. "When you're in opportunities to produce offensively and you're not doing it, it can be frustrating. We talk about it. We know we've got to play harder, play stronger and have a lot more compete in our game here."


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Radek Faksa -- Lauri Korpikoski

Antoine Roussel -- Tyler Seguin -- Patrick Eaves

Curtis McKenzie -- Devin Shore -- Brett Ritchie

Gemel Smith -- Justin Dowling -- Adam Cracknell

Dan Hamhuis -- John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya -- Stephen Johns

Jamie Oleksiak -- Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Esa Lindell, Patrik Nemeth

Injured: Jason Spezza (lower body), Jiri Hudler (illness), Patrick Sharp (concussion), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Alex Chiasson

Hunter Shinkaruk -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Micheal Ferland -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Linden Vey -- Matt Stajan -- Freddie Hamilton

Mark Giordano -- TJ Brodie

Jyrki Jokipakka -- Dougie Hamilton

Brett Kulak -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Dennis Wideman

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck), Kris Versteeg (groin), Lance Bouma (upper body), Matthew Tkachuk (wrist)


Status report

Oleksiak, who has been a scratch in nine straight games, will enter the lineup in place of Lindell. … Dowling will play for the first time since being recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League on Nov. 6. … Sharp, who has missed nine games because of a concussion, participated in the morning skate but will not return to the lineup. … Calgary held an optional skate Thursday. … The Flames recalled Vey from Stockton of the American Hockey League on Thursday. He is expected to play with Stajan and Hamilton. 


Who's hot

Seguin has scored in each of his past two games, and has three goals and seven points in his past five. Benn has five assists in his past five games. Eaves has three points in his past two games.

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