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Senators home as streaky Stars come calling

by Brian Hunter
STARS (10-8-1) at SENATORS (10-10-1)


Last 10:
Dallas 5-4-1; Ottawa 6-4-0

Season series:
This is the only meeting of the 2010-11 season between these teams. In their most recent matchup, Jason Spezza recorded the hat trick for Ottawa but Dallas prevailed 5-4 on home ice behind a pair of goals by Brad Richards and 25 saves from Kari Lehtonen.

Big story:
Alex Kovalev can still bring it at the age of 37 and with a power-play goal midway through the first period of Ottawa's 3-2 win over Los Angeles on Monday, the 18-year veteran reached 1,000 points for his NHL career. Kovalev later assisted on Spezza's game-winning goal.

"It's kind of hard for me to imagine, but I'm just really proud," said Kovalev, who joined Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Mogilny as Russian players to reach that milestone. "I just checked and there are like 20 text messages from my all my friends and family. It's a good achievement, I just don't know how to describe it."
Team Scope:

Stars: Streaky would be a good way of describing Dallas over the past 13 games -- a couple of three-game losing streaks sandwiched around a three-game winning streak, then two wins in a row followed by back-to-back losses. The Stars will try to get things going back in a positive direction after falling 4-1 to the Maple Leafs on Monday. Richards cut their 2-0 deficit in half by scoring with 4:29 left in the second, but Tyler Bozak answered just 1:36 later for Toronto, which added another goal in the third.

"It was a little bit of everything. There are no consolations in games like this," coach Marc Crawford said. "They played harder than us, and deserved to win. You can't look at anybody on our team that can't feel a little responsible for this, coaches included. The only positive thing is there's a billion people in China that don't know that we played terrible tonight."

Senators: Kovalev's goal wouldn't have meant nearly as much at the end of the night had Ottawa not rallied from a 2-1 deficit on a Milan Michalek score with 56 seconds left in the middle period and Spezza's tally at 11:19 of the third. On the winning goal, Spezza drove down the left side of the ice and shook Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene with a nice deke before snapping a shot past goalie Jonathan Quick.

"They had a long shift out there and I had good speed wide and I got the goalie to bite a little bit," Spezza said.

Who's hot: Richards has 4 goals and 3 assists over the Stars' last five games. James Neal had 3 goals and 4 assists during a four-game points streak that was snapped against the Maple Leafs. … Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson enters with a three-game points streak.

Injury report: Dallas forward James Neal suffered a laceration near his knee against Toronto but is expected to play, while defenseman Mark Fistric is questionable for undisclosed reasons. … Ottawa forward Chris Neil (upper body) and defenseman Erik Karlsson (flu-like symptoms) are day-to-day.

Stat pack: Stars captain Brenden Morrow took a game-high seven shots against the Leafs, accounting for nearly one-third of his team's total of 22 on the night. … Kovalev became the second member of the Senators this season to reach the 1,000-point plateau -- Alfredsson did it exactly one month earlier with a hat trick against the Sabres on Oct. 22.

Puck drop:
Kovalev shattered his stick in scoring the goal against Los Angeles and mused about that fact afterward.

"It was definitely good to get that off the bat, and kind of in a unique way, to break a stick," Kovalev said. "In my museum when you look at the stick, it won't be that hard to find that 1,000th point stick. I shot it too hard. I really wanted to get that through and if it didn't break, it probably would have broke the net."

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