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Stars shoot for fifth straight win

by Magalie Lafreni?re
STARS (4-0-0) at LIGHTNING (3-1-0)

TV -- FS-SW (HD), SUN (HD)

Season series -- This will be the only matchup this season between the teams. In their only meeting of last season in Dallas on Nov. 28, the Stars earned a 4-3 overtime win. Tom Wandell scored the OT winner, while Brad Richards had a pair of assists against his former team.

Big story -- With Dallas' win on Saturday, they become one of only two teams to remain undefeated thus far this season. Along with the Maple Leafs, the Stars carry a perfect 4-0-0 record. The Lightning, however, aren't far behind the Stars at 3-1-0. Tampa had the potential to join Toronto and Dallas, but it experienced its first loss on Saturday, a disappointing 6-0 defeat.

Team scope:

Stars -- Down two goals in the first to the Blues on Saturday, the Stars mounted a comeback for the 3-2 victory. James Neal scored late in the first period on a one-timer off a Loui Eriksson pass and Eriksson would get one of his own in the second period, forcing the extra frame. Richards, Eriksson and Mike Ribeiro would all find the back of the net in what was Dallas' second shootout of the season.

But it was goaltender Kari Lehtonen who was the true star of the night, making 41 saves through regulation and OT.

"He was terrific, he gave us an opportunity to win," Dallas coach Marc Crawford said of Lehtonen. "He was super all night. He made it look easy because he moved so well. He was making believers of the guys in front of him. They started to dig in a bit more."

Lightning -- It really wasn't Tampa's night on Saturday as they dropped a 6-0 decision to the Florida Panthers. Dan Ellis was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on 15 shots, but his replacement, Mike Smith, didn't fare any better. Smith gave up his first goal just three minutes after taking the ice and allowed two more in the third period. He finished the night with 20 saves.

"They were home and they need to please their fans at the opener," said Lightning coach Guy Boucher. "They had all the emotions they needed. For us, it was just the opposite. Our goaltenders have been great up until now but they were like the rest of the team tonight. They were just off."

Who's hot -- For the Stars, Richards is off to his best start ever with nine points and is tied with Chicago forward Marian Hossa for the League lead. He also leads the NHL with a plus-7 rating. ... While Steven Stamkos saw his seven-game scoring streak broken on Saturday, he too is off to a great start with four goals and two assists.

Injury report -- Stars left wing Jamie Benn is out with a concussion. ... The Lightning are missing defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who has been suffering from right knee inflammation. Vincent Lecavalier took a slap shot to his right hand in Saturday's game in Sunrise, and while the Tampa Bay captain continued to play, he did not participate in any faceoffs.

Stat pack -- If Dallas improves its record to 5-0-0 on Monday, it will be its best start to the season since 2006-07. The Stars' record last season through the first five games was 2-0-3.

Puck drop -- "We're finding each other right now, we create a lot of chances out there. We get two goals again and we've been playing really well lately, so I hope it's going to continue. I think everyone is really excited to get off to a good start here." -- Stars left wing Loui Eriksson after Saturday's win over St. Louis

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