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Will luck be on Stars' side in 'great test' vs. Golden Knights?

Dallas, eyeing a franchise record-tying seventh straight win, has beaten Vegas only once since 2017

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Stars (14-8-2) vs. Golden Knights (11-10-4)

7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

TV: FOX Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM, 96.7-FM

 

DALLAS -- The Stars have had a lot of trouble with the Vegas Golden Knights.

They are 1-5-0 lifetime against Vegas and have never beat them in Dallas. In fact, the Knights' first-ever win came in their first ever game, against the Stars at American Airlines Center.

So this should be an intriguing matchup, with the Stars seeking to tie their franchise record for consecutive wins at seven (set four times, most recently in 2008) and on a 10-0-1 point streak overall. Vegas is 2-5-1 in its past eight games and is coming off a 4-2 loss to Edmonton on Saturday.

Vegas has some players who have succeeded in the past against the Stars, with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury going 11-5-0 with a 2.12 GAA and .926 save percentage and center Paul Stastny getting 49 points (20 goals, 29 assists) in 48 career games against Dallas.

Video: VGK@DAL: Bowness says Stars must 'keep focus on us'

Mark Stone has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 11 games against Dallas, while Max Pacioretty has 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 15 games. Former Stars Reilly Smith (nine points in 14 games) and Cody Eakin (four points in seven games) also have made their mark.

Dallas got in a bit of a revved-up game against Chicago Saturday with shots being 41-39 in favor of the Stars, and would like to avoid the same type of situation against the Golden Knights.

"This is a great test for us," Stars assistant Rick Bowness said after Monday's morning skate. "We thought we let our game slip a little bit against Chicago, we gave up far more scoring chances than we've been giving up lately, so tonight we just want to make sure we tighten it up.

"We want to keep the focus on us and how we play the game."

 

What to watch

Vegas players are carrying a few minuses because they have been outscored 53-44 in 5-on-5 play. The Golden Knights are succeeding on special teams, ranking eighth on the power play at 22.8 percent and fourth on the penalty kill at 85.9 percent, so it would in the Stars' best interest to keep this game at even strength as much as possible.

That's been a bit of a problem for Dallas, as it is minus-17 in power-play opportunities (70) versus times shorthanded (87). Vegas is right up there in times shorthanded (85), so the Knights don't mind killing a penalty of two.

Dallas is outscoring the opposition 46-37 in 5-on-5 situations, which is one reason 16 players have pluses in the plus-minus category.

 

Bishop back in net; Dowling day-to-day

Ben Bishop is in goal for the Stars. He is 1-3-0 in his career against the Golden Knights with a 1.92 GAA and .945 save percentage. He's looking for some goal support in this one.

Justin Dowling is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He left in the second period last game and is expected to miss this game. There's no report on whether he might be available for Tuesday's game at Chicago.

With Dowling out, there is a chance the Stars shuffle three lines, with Roope Hintz playing between Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, Jason Dickinson playing between Alexander Radulov and Corey Perry, and Joe Pavelski playing between Denis Gurianov and Mattias Janmark.

 

By the numbers
5

That's the number of shorthanded goals for the Golden Knights, tied for tops in the league. They had 11 last season. The Stars have not allowed a shorthanded goal this year and gave up just two all of last season.

 

30

 

Vegas has scored the most first period goals in the NHL at 30 and have yielded 23 in first periods. The Stars have given up the fourth fewest first period goals at 15 and have scored 17.

 

10-1-2

Because so much of the Stars' easy season struggles came against the Eastern Conference, they are 10-1-2 against the West this year. That includes 5-0-1 against the Pacific. Vegas is 7-6-2 against the Western Conference, including 1-3-1 vs. the Central.

 

He said it

"Absolutely, absolutely. It's funny, we got in the playoffs last year and I had a bunch of reporters call me and say, `Geez, we should have voted for that kid' in the rookie vote. I said, `Yeah, you did, you kind of missed the boat on that one.'"

-- Bowness on whether 20-year-old defenseman Miro Heiskanen should be in the conversation for the Norris Trophy, given to the best defenseman in the NHL

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin

Alexander Radulov - Jason Dickinson - Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark - Joe Pavelski - Denis Gurianov

Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg

Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen

Andrej Sekera - Roman Polak

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: D Joel Hanley, Taylor Fedun

Injured: C Justin Dowling (upper body), D Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), C Martin Hanzal (back)

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, and listen to his podcast.

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