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Needing lift at home, Flames might be perfect opponent for Stars

Dallas has won six straight games over Calgary entering tonight's meeting at American Airlines Center

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Stars (1-3-0) vs. Flames (1-1-1)

7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

TV: FOX Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM, 96.7-FM

 

DALLAS -- If you're picking a random Stars game to attend, seeing them play the Calgary Flames is usually a pretty good choice. Dallas has won six straight against Calgary and has outscored the Flames 18-9 in that stretch.

The games are typically high-speed and exciting, and the Stars have found a way to win a lot.

Calgary has some top-end talent in Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mark Giordano, and Matthew Tkachuk. Gaudreau is off to a fast start with six points (two goals, four assists) in the first three games, and has 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 15 career games against the Stars.

 

[PREGAME READING: Pavelski know more production is coming after slow start with Stars]

 

Gaudreau played under Stars head coach Jim Montgomery in 2010-11 when both were with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL.

Asked about Gaudreau, Montgomery spoke in glowing terms.

"I'm just really proud of him," Montgomery said. He's a dynamic player. Nobody thought he would even make the NHL and what he's been doing, it's pretty astounding."

Video: Montgomery breaks down matchup with Calgary

The Stars have matched Gaudreau's energy when they go head-to-head. Tyler Seguin has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 20 career games against the Flames, while Jamie Benn has 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) in 31 career games against Calgary.

Goalie Ben Bishop, meanwhile, is 8-6-1 in his career against the Flames with a 2.04 goals against average and .925 save percentage.

In case you need a reminder on how good the Flames were last season, they had the second-best record in the NHL at 50-25-7, the second-best goal differential in the league at plus-62, and the fourth-best shot on goal differential at plus-4.3.

 

[GAME DAY GUIDE: How to watch, live stream Stars vs. Flames]

 

The Stars are coming off a 4-3 OT win at Washington Tuesday, while the Flames are coming off a 4-3 OT loss at home against the Los Angeles Kings.

Dallas could use a boost at home after starting the season 1-3-0, including playing the past three games on the road. Dallas was 24-14-3 at home last season and 19-18-4 on the road. The Stars scored at a rate of 2.85 goals per game at home and 2.24 on the road.

 

What to watch

The Stars are staying close to the lineup that finished the game strong in Washington Tuesday. The top two lines are looking to forge chemistry as the Benn-Seguin-Alexander Radulov trio made some big plays late, and the line of Mattias Janmark-Roope Hintz-Joe Pavelski continues to bond.

However, the line to watch might be Andrew Cogliano-Rhett Gardner-Nick Caamano. That trio received extra ice time Tuesday and created some great scoring chances. Caamano scored his first NHL goal off a feed from Cogliano, and the guess is the coaching staff will use that line to create energy.

Video: Caamano embracing role as "power forward" for Stars

The Stars will push for a faster start. They have been outshot 43-26 so far in first periods, and have allowed the first goal in three of the first four games. Calgary has actually been worse, getting outshot 45-16 in first periods. The Flames have allowed the first goal against twice in three games.

"It's something we went through a last year," Montgomery said of the slow starts. "We talked a little bit yesterday, the onus comes down to everybody getting prepared so we're all better prepared to start."

 

Hanley to make season debut

Joel Hanley will jump in for Taylor Fedun on defense. The left-handed Hanley was playing the right side on a pairing with Jamie Oleksiak in the morning skate.

Hanley, 28, played 16 games with the Stars last season, recording no points. He played 60 games with the Texas Stars last season and had 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists).

Video: Bishop joins the show to discuss the team's first win

Denis Gurianov will be a healthy scratch again. Gurianov made a bad breakout against Detroit and was benched after that play.

Montgomery said Tuesday that he would like Gurianov to watch games and learn from watching.

 

By the numbers

Video: Janmark "we need to work on our offensive zone game"

13-7-1

That's the Flames' record against the Central Division last season. That includes an 0-2-1 record against the Stars, so Dallas really was Calgary's biggest problem within the division. Dallas, by the way, went 14-7-3 against Pacific Division teams last season.

 

52

That's the amount of times Stars forward Joe Pavelski has played against the Flames. He was a divisional opponent of Calgary when he played for San Jose. Pavelski has 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) in 52 games.

 

31

Amount of faceoff wins for Radek Faksa this season, tops on the Stars. Faksa is 31-27 (53.4 percent), Tyler Seguin is 27-33 (45.0 percent) and Roope Hintz is 15-20 (42.9 percent).

 

He said it

"He's just a relentless hockey player. He uses his speed, he plays to his strengths. Speed, physical, attacks the net. And he's very responsible in his own end. He's a good, young hockey player for us."

-- Montgomery on Caamano, who scored his first NHL goal Tuesday and will play his fourth NHL game tonight

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark - Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski

Justin Dowling - Radek Faksa - Joel L'Esperance

Andrew Cogliano - Rhett Gardner - Nick Caamano

Esa Lindell - Miro Heiskanen

Andrej Sekera - John Klingberg

Jamie Oleksiak - Joel Hanley

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: RW Denis Gurianov, D Taylor Fedun.

Injuries: LW Blake Comeau (lower body), C Jason Dickisnon (upper body), D Roman Polak (sternum), RW Corey Perry (foot), D Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), C Martin Hanzal (back).

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindhollm

Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backland - Andrew Mangiapane

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Sam Bennett

Tobias Rieder - Mark Jankowski - Michael Frolik

Mark Giordano - Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

T.J. Brodie - Michael Stone

David Rittich

Cam Talbot

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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