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Stars hope to clinch on home ice as reward for 'great fans'

Dallas needs just 1 point against Philadelphia to secure a playoff spot for the first time since 2016

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars get another chance to clinch a playoff spot tonight when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers at American Airlines Center (7:30 p.m. CT; FS-SW+; KTCK).

The Stars (41-31-7-89 points) need just one point in the game to secure a playoff spot, so a win or getting the game into overtime, even if they lose in the extra session or the shootout, will secure a berth in the NHL's postseason tournament.

"It's always going to be there, but I don't think we focus on that too much," said Stars forward Mattias Janmark. "Stick to our game and keep playing good hockey, staying in games and winning games. I think we are really close now, but I think the feeling now is we are going out to play a game and going out to win it, we don't think about the point we need."

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said his message to the team heading into tonight's game had two parts.

"One, we have great fans. It would be great to be able to accomplish getting into the playoffs in front of them, reward them for their loyalty and support," Montgomery said.

"The second thing is, it's been a couple of times now -- Colorado one and Vancouver another -- where we treated it like a playoff elimination game where we had the opportunity to win that fourth game and move on. This is what this is like. We've got to get comfortable playing in those moments, taking it and not waiting for it."

Video: Stars excited for chance playoffs to clinch at home

If the Stars fall in regulation tonight and fail to get a point, they can still clinch a playoff spot if Arizona loses in any fashion to Los Angeles.

The Stars are not expected to make any lineup changes for tonight's game.

Montgomery is expected to roll with the same forward line combinations and defense pairs. The lines for tonight include Tyler Seguin centering Mattias Janmark and Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn playing left wing with Roope Hintz at center and Jason Dickinson on the right wing. Radek Faksa will center the third line with Andrew Cogliano and Blake Comeau.

Jason Spezza will center the fourth line with Valeri Nichushkin and Tyler Pitlick.

The expected defense pairs are Esa Lindell-John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen-Roman Polak, and Taylor Fedun-Ben Lovejoy.

Anton Khudobin will get the start in goal.


Bishop takes part in pregame skate

Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (lower body) was on the ice early Tuesday working with goaltending coach Jeff Reese and then took part in the team's optional skate.

Bishop, who looked good Tuesday, is expected to play this weekend.

Injured forwards Mats Zuccarello (arm), Brett Ritchie (hand) and Justin Dowling (upper body) also took part in this morning's skate. They all are expected to be ready by the weekend as well.


Opposition watch: Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers (37-34-8) are coming off a 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday. On Saturday, they were eliminated from playoff contention after a 5-2 loss to Carolina.

The Flyers are 1-4-0 in their last five games and 3-7-0 in the last 10.

Cam Talbot is the expected starter in goal.


Fast facts
  • This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Stars and Flyers. The Flyers won the first meeting, 2-1, in Philadelphia on Jan. 10.  

  • The Stars are 22-14-3 at home.

  • The Flyers are 18-17-4 on the road.

  • The Stars are 17-10-3 since the All-Star break.

  • The Flyers are 18-11-2 since the All-Star break.

  • The Stars rank second in goals against at 2.43 per game.

  • The Flyers rank 28th in goals against at 3.33 per game.

  • The Flyers rank first in faceoff percentage at 54.9.

  • The Stars rank fourth in faceoff percentage at 51.9

  • The Stars are 5-for-11 on the power play over their last four games.

  • The Flyers are 17-for-19 on the penalty kill over their last eight games.

  • Stars forward Alexander Radulov has 15 points (10 goals, 5 assists) in his last 13 games.

  • Tyler Seguin leads Dallas in scoring with 75 points (31 goals, 44 assists).

  • Claude Giroux leads Philadelphia in scoring with 81 points (21 goals, 60 assists).


Tonight's game

Who: Philadelphia Flyers at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM/96.7-FM


Stars projected lineup

Mattias Janmark - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Jason Dickinson
Andrew Cogliano- Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Spezza - Tyler Pitlick

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Taylor Fedun - Ben Lovejoy

Anton Khudobin
Landon Bow

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Julius Honka, Joel L'Esperance
Injured: Ben Bishop (lower body), Mats Zuccarello (broken arm), Brett Ritchie (hand), Justin Dowling (upper body), Martin Hanzal (back), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Marc Methot (knee surgery)


Flyers projected lineup

James van Riemsdyk - Nolan Patrick - Oskar Lindblom
Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
Ryan Hartman - Scott Laughton - Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl - Corban Knight - Justin Bailey

Ivan Provorov - Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere - Philippe Myers
Robert Hagg - Samuel Morin

Cam Talbot
Carter Hart

Scratched: Brian Elliott, Andrew MacDonald, Phil Varone, Radko Gudas
Injured: Michal Neuvirth (lower body)

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

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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