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Preview: Stars host expansion Golden Knights to open new season

The Stars kick off their 25th year in Dallas with Friday's lid-lifter, and there are a lot of new faces in the mix

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / DallasStars.com
Vegas Golden Knights at Dallas Stars
Friday, October 6
7:30 p.m.
Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM / 96.7-FM

 

[MORE COVERAGE: Mark Stepneski breaks down the Stars' opening night roster]

 

About the Stars

The Stars kick off their 25th year in Dallas with Friday night's season opener, and there are a lot of new faces in the mix. GM Jim Nill retooled his team after the Stars missed the playoffs for the second time in four years, bringing in coach Ken Hitchcock and adding goaltender Ben Bishop, defenseman Marc Methot, and forwards Alexander Radulov, Martin Hanzal, and Tyler Pitlick.

Optimism is high around the Stars, and so is the eagerness to get started.

"The excitement is the biggest thing right now. It's probably keeping the emotions in check, almost like a playoff game," said center Tyler Seguin. "It's been such a long offseason. So many things happened, so much talking, all the interviews, the media. It's going to be nice to just start playing hockey again."

It's been about three weeks since the Stars opened training camp under Hitchcock, who is expected to bring more structure and a stronger defensive game to the Stars.

"I want to see some of those things we've preached since day one be in place," Hitchcock said. "A big part of that is managing the puck. It's trusting when you give it up that if you do the right things you are going to get it back. All those things that matter in a game, we see it in practice consistently and then see flashes of it in the game. Now, we've got to turn the flashes into consistency."

Friday's game is the front end of a back-to-back for the Stars who will play at St. Louis on Saturday.

Injuries: None

 

About the Golden Knights

The Golden Knights kick off their inaugural season with Friday night's game in Dallas. But with the franchise's first game looming, there was still a lot of uncertainty about the opening night roster.

Three possible players for Friday -- forwards Vadim Shipachyov and Alex Tuch and defenseman Shea Theodore -- were assigned to the AHL due to their waiver exempt status as GM George McPhee sorted out his roster, which had 11 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders as of Thursday.

McPhee is expected to make some roster moves, including the recall of at least Shipachyov before the season opener.

Forward James Neal's status is up in the air. Neal, who is on injured reserve, is recovering from offseason hand surgery. He has been practicing with the team and is eligible to come off IR before Friday's game.

Vegas placed G Calvin Pickard on waivers Thursday and assigned F Brandon Pirri to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL after he cleared waivers. G Malcolm Subban, claimed off waivers from Boston earlier in the week, is expected to serve as the backup to No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Injuries: LW James Neal (hand) is questionable. D Clayton Stoner (undisclosed) is on injured reserve.

 

Season Series
  • This is the first of three meetings between the Stars and Golden Knights.

  • The Stars will play their first ever regular season game in Vegas on Nov. 28.

  • The season series concludes Dec. 9 in Dallas.

 

Statistical Tidbits
  • The Stars were 3-3-0 in the preseason.

  • The Golden Knights were 3-3-1 in preseason.

  • RW Brett Ritchie led Dallas in preseason scoring with four points (three goals, one assist) in five games.

  • Ex-Star Cody Eakin, who was selected by Vegas in this summer's expansion draft, tallied five points (one goal, four assists) in four preseason games with the Golden Knights.

  • The Stars are 16-3-4 in home openers since the team moved to Dallas including 11-1-3 at American Airlines Center.

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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