DALLAS -- Two teams that have scored 11 goals in winning their past two games meet Saturday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars square off at American Airlines Center.
Pittsburgh is 7-1-1 in January and the Penguins have won four of their past five, leading coach Dan Bylsma to keep his lines largely intact from recent wins against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday and New York Islanders on Thursday.
Bylsma is tweaking his third and fourth lines a bit, going with a third line of Taylor Pyatt, Brandon Sutter and Jayson Megna. Pittsburgh's fourth line likely consists of Tanner Glass and Craig Adams centered by Andrew Ebbett, who has missed the past 21 games due to injury.
Marc-Andre Fleury will start in net for the Penguins.
This marks the first meeting of the season between Pittsburgh and Dallas, but Bylsma has seen enough of the Stars, especially during their recent surge, to know exactly what the Penguins are up against.
"Watching their last couple games, they have four consistent, aggressive lines," Bylsma said. "They've been real aggressive on plays with their defensemen, (Trevor) Daley, (Alex) Goligoski and (Brenden) Dillon in particular. (Sergei) Gonchar picks his spots a little bit more, but they've been very aggressive with their four lines. They really play fast, aggressive, hard forechecking group and that's what you're going to see from this Lindy Ruff team."
The Stars started January 1-8-1 before consecutive wins against the Minnesota Wild (4-0) on Tuesday and the Toronto Maple Leafs (7-1) on Thursday have swung the pendulum in the other direction.
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff will keep his lines and defensive pairings identical from the win over Toronto and Kari Lehtonen will start in net for a seventh straight game.
Ruff is more than a little familiar with the Penguins from his long tenure coaching the Buffalo Sabres.
"We know that Pittsburgh's a different beast. We've got to do some things well to enable us to give us a chance we need to get on the scoreboard," Ruff said. "I think we're going to have to do some things defensively really well to limit their opportunities. We're not going to take them all the way. They've got some players that are definitely going to be on the chance sheet and we need some saves, but we definitely need to limit the high quality."
Here are the projected lineups:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Chuck Kobasew
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Taylor Pyatt – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Tanner Glass – Andrew Ebbett – Craig Adams
Paul Martin – Brooks Orpik
Rob Scuderi – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
Injured: Beau Bennett (wrist), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (torn ACL), Brian Gibbons (lower body), Tomas Vokoun (blood clot in pelvis), Joe Vitale (wrist)
Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Erik Cole – Vernon Fiddler – Ray Whitney
Rich Peverley - Shawn Horcoff – Alex Chiasson
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Brenden Dillon - Jordie Benn
Aaron Rome - Sergei Gonchar
Injured: Stephane Robidas (leg)
Scratched: Kevin Connauton