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Stars-Devils Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Friday, March 4

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (38-20-7) lost 5-3 at Nashville Tuesday. It was the fourth straight loss (0-3-1) and seventh in the past eight games (1-5-2) for the Stars.

“It was our fourth game in six nights, and we knew we’d have to play smart. We played a great first period, and we didn’t play smart enough in the second,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “That gave [the Predators] some energy.”

The Stars allowed five goals or more for the fourth time in the past seven games and three goals or more in seven straight games.

The Stars said Thursday that forward Patrick Sharp is expected to miss 5-7 days with a lower body injury. The Stars also said defenseman Jordie Benn is expected to be out 1-2 weeks with a lower body injury. Patrick Eaves (illness) practiced Thursday but remains out.

Friday’s game kicks off a stretch of three straight against Eastern Conference opponents.

Injuries: F Patrick Sharp (lower body), F Patrick Eaves (illness) and D Jordie Benn (lower body) are out.

The Devils (31-27-7) defeated Nashville 5-4 in overtime Thursday night. Adam Henrique scored the game-tying goal with 40 seconds left in regulation and then scored on the power play 1:54 into overtime as the Devils snapped a three-game losing streak.

“I thought our compete level was really strong,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “A lot of times in those games, you can feel when you’re on the bench with your team, guys felt good tonight, felt good about how we played. It was nice we were able to tie it up and find a way to win.”

The Devils improved to 8-1 in 3-on-3 overtime this season.

New Jersey is five points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Friday’s game is the second of a two-game road trip for New Jersey.

Injuries: F Michael Cammalleri (upper body), F Patrik Elias (knee) and F Jiri Tlusty (upper body) are on injured reserve.

*This is the second and final meeting between the Stars and Devils this season.

*The Devils won the first meeting, 3-2 in overtime, in New Jersey on January 2.

*The Stars are 6-1-1 in their past eight games at home against New Jersey dating back to 2003-04.

*The Stars are 16-9-2 vs. the Eastern Conference including 9-4-1 vs. the Metropolitan Division.

*The Devils are 13-9-1 vs. the Western Conference including 6-6-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 0-3-1 in their past four games at home and 3-6-1 over their past ten.

*The Devils are 4-6-1 in their past eleven games on the road.

*The Stars are 7-6-2 since the All-Star break.

*The Devils are 6-7-2 since the All-Star break.

*The Stars have allowed five goals or more in four of their past seven games and are allowing 3.73 goals per game since the All-Star break, most in the league through Wednesday.

*The Devils have scored two goals or fewer in ten of 15 games since the All-Star break and are averaging 2.07 goals per game during that stretch, fewest in the league.

*The Devils are 4-3-2 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.

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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