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Preview: Stars begin second half of road swing at Ottawa

Dallas hopes to build some cushion tonight in the tightening wild-card race

by Josh Bogorad @JoshBogorad / On The Radar
Dallas Stars at Ottawa Senators

Friday, March 16
6:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

 

About the Stars

The Stars (38-26-7) are in search of their first victory on a season-long, six-game road trip. Dallas opened the trip with regulation defeats in Pittsburgh and Montreal, before falling 6-5 in a shootout Wednesday in a wild game in Toronto.

Dallas fell behind early, but rallied to score two in the first period and two in the second period to take a 4-2 lead at second intermission. In the third period, the Maple Leafs got a pair of goals from James van Riemsdyk, who capped his third-career hat trick to tie the game 4-4. Once again the Stars responded, reclaiming the lead on a Brett Ritchie goal with just under seven minutes to play. The Leafs surged in the closing minutes, and the Stars -- who were playing their third game in four nights -- could not hold them off, surrendering the game-tying goal to Patrick Marleau with 15.3 seconds remaining.

"We came back and won the hockey game about three times, but we ran out of gas," Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It's tough."

Before Wednesday, the Stars had been 29-1-1 this season when leading after two periods.  

"This is disappointing to not two get two out of this, but points are points," Hitchcock added. "We got another point. We've got to go back into Ottawa, and see if we can keep building on this."

The Stars' offense went into Toronto with just five goals in their prior four games combined, and finally got the breakout game it had been searching for. Dallas scored five for the first time since Feb. 3, getting goals from five different players. Among them was Tyler Seguin, who matched a career-high with his 37th goal of the season. Seguin had three points, giving him 17 (8 goals, 9 assists) in his last 11 games. Radek Faksa and Jamie Benn each scored for the second consecutive game. Benn has goals in three of his last four.

Wednesday marked the fourth time the Stars have gone to overtime in their last eight games. Dallas has fallen in the extra session in three of those, including a 3-2 overtime loss to Ottawa on March 5 in Dallas. Overall, the Stars are 8-7 this season in games decided beyond regulation.  

Kari Lehtonen was making his fifth straight start in place of the injured Ben Bishop, and stopped 28 of 33 shots. On Wednesday before the game, Bishop skated in full pads for the second straight day. The team had an off-day on Thursday, and there has been no exact timetable given regarding Bishop's status. He was injured in the first meeting with the Senators.

The Stars enter Friday in the Western Conference's final wild-card spot, one point behind Colorado and one point ahead of Anaheim. 

Injuries: In addition to Bishop's unconfirmed status, C Martin Hanzal (back) and D Marc Methot (Hand) are both out. Friday's game was slated to be Methot's return to Ottawa after spending the last five seasons with the Senators, but he was injured blocking a shot in Tuesday's game at Montreal.

Video: Stars fight hard for a point in Toronto

 

About the Senators

The Senators (25-33-11) are coming off of a 7-4 win in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Despite owning the second-fewest points in the Eastern Conference, and fourth-fewest in the NHL, the Senators unloaded on the East-leading Lightning. Six different players scored for Ottawa, led by Mike Hoffman, who tallied twice. The win improved the Senators to 3-1-1 in their last five games, dating back to their win in Dallas.

"At the end of the day, we are still playing to win all the games moving forward," Senators captain Erik Karlsson said after Tuesday's win. "Trying to feel as good as possible about our game and ourselves, and as of lately we have done a good job of that."

The Senators have scored 12 goals in their last two games. Regardless of being well out of playoff contention, lately they have put up some impressive results. In addition to the wins in Tampa and Dallas, the Senators also have victories this month in Las Vegas and Florida, where they snapped a Panthers nine-game point streak. However, the positive results have all come on the road. The Senators have lost their last four home games, and have not won at Canadian Tire Centre since February 17.   

Craig Anderson, who stopped 31 of 33 shots in the first meeting with Dallas, has been confirmed as Ottawa's starting goaltender.

The Senators are playing their first of games on consecutive nights. They visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Injuries: F Mark Stone (leg) is out. D Chris Wideman (leg) is on injured reserve.

 

Season Series
  • This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Stars and Senators.

  • The Senators won the first meeting, 3-2 (OT), in Dallas on March 5.

  • Tyler Seguin scored both Dallas goals.

  • Mike Hoffman, Matt Duchene, and Erik Karlsson each scored goals for Ottawa.

 

Statistical Tidbits
  • The Stars are 14-16-4 on the road.

  • The Senators are 14-14-6 at home.

  • The Stars are 14-7-7 vs. the Eastern Conference, including 7-3-4 against the Atlantic Division.

  • The Senators are 10-13-4 vs. the Western Conference, including 4-7-1 against the Central Division.

  • The Stars have been outscored 12-8 on their road trip.

  • The current three-game winless skid for Dallas (0-2-1) matches their longest of the season. It is the third time they have gone three straight games without a win.

  • Mike Hoffman, Matt Duchene, and Erik Karlsson each have four points in the last two games for the Senators.

  • Stars D John Klingberg leads all defensemen in scoring with 58 points. Erik Karlsson is tied for third with 54 points.

  • Duchene has 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in his last 31 games. He only had 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in his first 24 games after being acquired by the Senators from Colorado. 

  • The Stars are 1-5-1 in their last seven road games, getting outscored 21-12.

  • Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in scoring with 68 points (37 goals, 31 assists).

  • Mark Stone leads the Senators in scoring with 62 points (20 goals, 42 assists).

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

Josh Bogorad is the Studio Host on Stars television broadcasts. He can be seen 30 minutes before face-off on 'Stars Live' and immediately after games all season long on Fox Sports Southwest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshBogorad.  

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