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Stars-Canadiens Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Montreal Canadiens at Dallas Stars
Wednesday, January 4
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (16-15-7) are coming off a 3-1 loss to Florida on Saturday. The Stars fell behind 3-0 in the first period and could never catch up.

"The slow start killed us. Collectively from our forwards, defensemen, and goaltender," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "We lost almost every faceoff and had to chase the puck around. When you do that you end up taking a couple of penalties, which we did, and you get behind - it's hard. We created our own problems and that first 20 minutes was too tough to recover from."

The loss ended a three-game winning streak and five-game points streak for the Stars.

Stars captain Jamie Benn, who suffered a foot injury in Saturday's game, did not practice Monday and Tuesday and will miss Wednesday's game. He is listed as day to day.  

Forward Antoine Roussel, who has missed the past four games with an upper-body injury, has gone through two full practices this week and could play Wednesday.

Wednesday's game concludes a three-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: LW Antoine Roussel (upper body) is questionable. LW Jamie Benn (foot) is out. C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) and RW Ales Hemsky (hip) are on injured reserve.

About the Canadiens

The Canadiens (23-9-6) won 2-1 in overtime at Nashville Tuesday night. Max Pacioretty scored the game-winner with 30 seconds remaining in the extra period. Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber scored in his first game in Nashville since being traded from the Predators to Montreal, and former Predator Alexander Radulov had the primary assist on both Montreal goals.

"It feels good to win," Weber said. "Whether it is scoring a goal or blocking a shot, it just happened to be scoring a goal tonight. It was big and obviously [Pacioretty] got a big goal, too."

Tuesday's game was the fourth straight to go to overtime for Montreal, which is 2-0-2 in those games.

Wednesday's game will be the sixth of seven straight on the road for Montreal, which is 2-1-2 in the first five.

Injuries: F David Desharnais (knee), F Alex Galchenyuk (knee), D Andrei Markov (lower body), D Greg Pateryn (ankle) and D Andrew Shaw (concussion-like symptoms) are on injured reserve.

Season Series

*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Canadiens this season.

*The Stars were 1-0-1 vs. Montreal last season.  

*The Canadiens were 1-1-0 in last season's series.

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 11-6-3 at home.

*The Canadiens are 8-6-4 on the road.

*The Stars are 1-6-2 vs. the Eastern Conference including 0-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division.

*The Canadiens are 7-5-1 vs. the Western Conference including 2-2-1 vs. the Central Division.

*Montreal ranks fifth in the league in goals against at 2.26 per game.

*The Stars have allowed 28 goals over the past 13 games (2.15 per game).

*The Stars 5-on-5 save percentage since Dec. 3 is .956, which is tops in the league.

*The Stars are 3-24 (12.5 percent) on the power play over the past seven games.

*The Canadiens have allowed 7 power-play goals over the past 9 games and are 26-33 (78.8 percent) on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*Stars forward Jason Spezza has registered 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in his past 11 games.

*Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has registered 16 points (11 goals, 5 assists) in his past 14 games.

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 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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