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Stars-Canadiens Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Saturday, December 19

6:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (23-7-2) are coming off a 3-1 loss to Calgary on Thursday. The Stars grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period, but the Flames scored twice late in the final five minutes of the period to grab a lead they would never relinquish.

“The first fifteen minutes we played really well,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’re on a little bit of a roller coaster ride and that fifteen minutes wasn’t good enough in the first period.”

The Stars lost for the fourth time in the past eight games but have still picked up ten points during that stretch (4-2-2).

“We’ve been a little inconsistent. We’ve played good hockey at times, but when we haven’t played good hockey it has stung us,” said defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We have a target on our backs, and we know that. We are seeing some pretty good games from other teams right now. It’s going to be like that the rest of the way. You’ve really got to be controlled with what you are doing out there.”

Injuries: None

The Canadiens (20-10-3) are coming off a 3-0 loss to Los Angeles in Montreal on Thursday. The Canadiens outshot the Kings 45-20 but lost for the sixth time in their past seven games (1-6-0).

“For us to get almost 50 shots, I don't know the exact number, but I thought we played a pretty good hockey game, but this game's about results and, unfortunately, we didn't get the job done again,” said Montreal defenseman Nathan Beaulieu.

Saturday’s game against the Stars kicks off a stretch of eight straight on the road for the Canadiens.

“I think it might be a time to get together, regroup, everyone try and feel good about themselves," Montreal captain Max Pacioretty said. "Sometimes it works that way, where you get away from home, spend some time with the guys and you feel a bit better about your game. So maybe it's a good time for that; I hope so, and I hope we show up against Dallas.”

Montreal recalled F Michael McCarron from St. John’s of the AHL and assigned F Charles Hudon to St. John’s on Friday.

Injuries: G Carey Price (lower body), F Brendan Gallagher (hand) and F Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body) are on injured reserve.

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

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

*The Stars are 6-2-1 in their past nine home games vs. Montreal.

*Montreal is 3-6-1 since goaltender Carey Price went out with a lower-body injury on Nov. 25.

*The Stars and Washington Capitals are the only two NHL teams that have yet to lose consecutive games this season.

*The Stars are 14-4-0 vs. the Eastern Conference including 6-4-0 vs. the Atlantic Division.

*The Canadiens are 4-6-0 vs. the Western Conference including 2-1-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars rank first in goal scoring in the NHL at 3.34 goals per game but have scored one goal or fewer in three of the past six games.

*The Canadiens rank third in goal scoring at 3.03 per game but have scored two goals or fewer in nine of the past ten games.

*The Stars are 5-45 (11.1 percent) on the power play over the past 14 games.

*Montreal is 0-21 on the power play over the past seven games.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn is tied for the NHL scoring lead with 20 and is third in the league with 41 points.

*Stars center Tyler Seguin ranks second in the NHL with 42 points.

*Forward Max Pacioretty leads Montreal with 14 goals.

*Forward Tomas Plekanec leads Montreal with 27 points.

This story was not subject to the 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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