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Preview: Stars at Senators

Dallas aims to end three-game losing streak; Ottawa will dress 11 forwards, seven defensemen

by Chris Stevenson / NHL.com Correspondent

STARS (21-23-10) at SENATORS (27-18-6)

7:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, FS-SW+, NHL.TV

 

Stars team scope

The Dallas Stars, seven points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, will try to avoid a four-game losing streak. The Stars, ranked 29th in the NHL in goals-against (3.17 per game), have been outscored 12-7 in their past three games. "We just need to play better hockey and stop shooting ourselves in the foot," forward Jamie Benn said. "We need to play better defensively to win in this league. I've said it before, teams that end up winning the Stanley Cup have the best defense and play the smartest game. That's something we need to learn and learn fast." The Stars are last in the League in penalty-killing (73.3 percent) and have given up at least one power-play goal in each of their past seven games. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to start. Dallas is 8-1-0 against the Ottawa Senators since the start of the 2009-10 season and 4-0-0 in its past four games at Canadian Tire Centre. The Stars are 7-14-4 on the road.

 

Senators team scope

Goatender Mike Condon will start for the Ottawa, which will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Condon played in 27 straight games before Andrew Hammond started in a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, the second straight game the Senators were shut out. Coach Guy Boucher has been using his fourth line for as little as five minutes per game recently. Boucher is planning to give some of his first- and second-line players extra shifts on the fourth line with Tommy Wingels and Chris Kelly. Boucher said he liked the way defenseman Fredrik Claesson, a scratch for the past three games, has played and wanted to get him back in the lineup. "I've been wanting to [dress seven defensemen] for a long time," Boucher said. "I like to do that. Today with Claesson being healthy, all our [defensemen] being healthy, no one I want to take out, gives me the possibility to do that." The Senators are in second place in the Atlantic Division, tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs with 60 points, but they have one more game remaining than Toronto. Boucher told the Ottawa Sun that goaltender Craig Anderson, who has not played since Dec. 5, could return as soon as Saturday, when the Senators host the New York Islanders. Anderson returned to the Senators on Jan. 30 after taking a leave of absence to be with his wife, Nicholle, who was having treatments for cancer.

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Patrick Eaves

Jiri Hudler -- Tyler Seguin -- Brett Ritchie

Devin Shore -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Antoine Roussel -- Adam Cracknell -- Lauri Korpikoski

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Jordie Benn -- Dan Hamhuis

Patrik Nemeth -- Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Julius Honka, Curtis McKenzie

Injured: Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Mattias Janmark (knee), Johnny Oduya (lower body), Ales Hemsky (hip), Jason Spezza (upper body)

 

Senators projected lineup 

Zack Smith -- Derick Brassard -- Mark Stone

Ryan Dzingel -- Kyle Turris -- Bobby Ryan

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Tommy Wingels  -- Chris Kelly 

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Fredrik Claesson

Mike Condon

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Chris Neil, Curtis Lazar, Craig Anderson

Injured: Clarke MacArthur (concussion) 


Status report

Neil will be a scratch for the fourth time in the past six games; Lazar for the third time in five games. 

 

Who's hot

Jamie Benn has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past nine games. … Karlsson has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games. Stone has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past four games.

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