BRUINS (24-16-6) at STARS (21-17-7)
TV: NESN, FS-SW
DALLAS -- When the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars hit the ice at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night, each team shares a common goal; win their final game before the start of the NHL All-Star break, which begins on Wednesday and ends on Jan. 26.
Boston (24-16-6) heads into its first meeting of the season with Dallas after a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, a defeat Bruins coach Claude Julien wouldn’t label a wake-up call.
“We have to understand that we have to be willing to work hard every night. In my mind, they (Columbus) wanted it more than we did and we can’t allow those things to happen,” Julien said. “They (Dallas) have got a chance to get close to a playoff spot and we’re probably going to see the best out of those guys. At the end of the night, it’s which team wants it more than the other. That’s got to be us.”
Julien is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from the loss to the Blue Jackets, which snapped a five-game winning streak by the Bruins.
Goalie Tuukka Rask was first off the ice for Boston at morning skate and will start his fifth consecutive game.
Dallas (21-17-7) was won two straight after winning 6-3 at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night, and Stars coach Lindy Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings intact from that win.
Ruff said he knows that if the Stars are going to extend their win streak, they need to do several basic things.
“Well, we’re going to have to get on the score sheet and if we can get a lead, I think it’ll open them up a little bit,” Ruff said. “If we end up giving them the lead and playing a real tight game that plays into their hands.”
Tuesday will mark the 700th career game for Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who will center the fourth line alongside left wing Shawn Horcoff and right wing Travis Moen.
Fiddler is an unsung yet invaluable member of the Dallas roster who Ruff said he has the utmost respect for.
“You’re looking at a guy that’s found a niche in this league from playing defensive hockey, a penalty killer,” Ruff said. “He’s got great character in the room and I think even bigger than that, he’s a good player on the ice for us. (He) sacrifices the body a lot of times and he’s been able to score some big goals for us. He’s the type of guy that would fit well on any team.”
Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice for Dallas and will start a third consecutive game.
Here are the projected lineups:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Daniel Paille – Patrice Bergeron – Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly – Carl Soderberg – Loui Eriksson
Jordan Caron – Gregory Campbell – Craig Cunningham
Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg – Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Scratched: Matt Bartkowski.
Suspended: Brad Marchand.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Travis Moen
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jamie Oleksiak
Scratched: David Schlemko.
Injured: Trevor Daley (undisclosed), Patrick Eaves (ankle), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Brett Ritchie (hand).
Status report: Marchand is serving the final game of his two-game suspension for a slew-footing incident on Jan. 15 against the New York Rangers. … Eaves (lower body) has missed the past 19 games and participated in morning skate but isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break.
Who’s hot: Boston is the only team in the NHL who has yet to allow a short-handed goal this season. … Cole has 13 points (seven assists) over his past 13 games.