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StarPoints For 3/6 vs Pittsburgh

by Travis Betts / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars (28-23-12) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (38-22-4)
12:00PM CT - Mellon Arena
Television - FOX Sports Southwest
Radio - Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket

1.)  Saturday’s game is the only matchup of the 2009-10 season between Dallas and Pittsburgh. Since the 2004-05 lockout season, the Stars are 0-2-1 against the Penguins. The game will be broadcast in the metroplex on Fox Sports Southwest at noon, the earliest start time for a Stars game this season. Saturday’s game is the first on a road trip against three Eastern Conference powerhouse teams – Pittsburgh, Washington (March 8) and Buffalo (March 10).

2.)  New Stars’ goaltender Kari Lehtonen is scheduled to make his first start as a Dallas Star on Saturday. Lehtonen played 38:10 against St. Louis on Thursday in relief of Marty Turco, stopping 14 of the 16 shots he faced. In 204 NHL games before coming to Dallas in a trade last month, the 6-4, 215-pound backstop went 94-83-17, all with the Atlanta Thrashers.

3.)  Stars’ center Mike Ribeiro has four goals and two assists in his first five games since coming off Injured Reserve. Ribeiro, who missed 15 games after suffering a throat contusion on Jan. 6 at the New York Rangers, has been the Stars’ leading scorer each of the past three seasons, scoring almost a point per game since coming to Dallas in 2006. The only other players in franchise history to lead the team outright in scoring for three consecutive seasons are Dennis Hextall (1972-75) and Mike Modano (1991-94, 1998-2003).
4.)  Players to watch: Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin form the best one-two center combination in the league. Crosby is third in the league with 80 points (42-38-80), and Malkin is 11th with 67 (22-45-67). At age 21 last season, Crosby became the youngest captain in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup, and he scored the winning goal for Team Canada in Sunday’s gold medal game against Team USA. Malkin is the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner (MVP of the playoffs), scoring 36 points in 22 postseason games in 2009.
5.)  It will be Pittsburgh’s first game with left wing Alex Ponikarovsky, who had to obtain a work visa after being traded to the Penguins from Toronto at the trade deadline. The 29-year-old Ukrainian scored 41 points (19-22-41) in 61 games with the Maple Leafs this season, and while that stat line might not jump off the page, especially next to that of his new teammates Crosby and Malkin, he is definitely a top-6 caliber forward who has a chance to make a big impact with his new club.

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