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Stars-Flames Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars

Friday March 14
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (32-23-10) are coming off a 3-2 overtime win at St. Louis Tuesday. Jamie Benn’s goal with 1:18 left in the extra period gave the Stars the victory, their third straight. The win came one night after Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench in a game against Columbus.

“It was a great win,” said Benn. “We were thinking about Rich back home, but I thought we did a great job getting mentally ready for this game and we’re still in a playoff hunt here. We’re still in a big playoff push and we found a way to get two points.”

Peverley is out for the season and will undergo a procedure to try to correct an irregular heartbeat.

The Stars enter Friday’s game holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Phoenix, which has played two more games than Dallas.

The Stars have won handily twice this season against the Flames, who have been out of the playoff picture for some time. But Stars coach Lindy Ruff said his team needs to be wary of the Flames.

“You can’t take anyone for granted,” said Ruff. “I sometimes feel that these teams are a tougher opponent to be ready for, to make sure that we don’t get loose as a team and make sure that we stay with our game plan.”

Center Cody Eakin missed Thursday’s practice. He is listed as doubtful for Friday’s game.

Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has been out with a concussion since Saturday, skated prior to practice on Thursday. If he is cleared by doctors on Friday, he could be ready to return later this weekend.

Injuries: F Cody Eakin (lower body) is doubtful. G Kari Lehtonen (concussion) and F Rich Peverley (heart) are out.

About the Flames

The Flames (26-33-7) set a season-high mark for goals scored in routing Anaheim, 7-2, in Calgary on Wednesday. Mikael Backlund had two goals and one assist for the Flames, who won for the third time in their last five games.

“We’re going to play like it’s the playoffs all the way through here and not sit back, not think about the draft,” Calgary forward Mikael Backlund said of the Flames, who are out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.

The Flames play their next two on the road, taking on the Stars Friday and then Phoenix on Saturday.

“Dallas and Phoenix are right now battling for the final spot in our conference for the playoffs, so those two teams will be at their best," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "Those are the kinds of games we want to play."

Injuries: F Matt Stajan (personal) is day to day. F Markus Granlund (upper body) and F Jiri Hudler (upper body) missed Wednesday’s game. F David Jones (shoulder), G Kari Ramo (knee) and D Dennis Wideman (upper body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the third and final meeting between the Stars and Flames this season.

*The Stars have won the first two meetings in regulation by a combined score of 12-4.

*October 24, Calgary at Dallas: Stars 5, Flames 1

*November 15, Dallas at Calgary: Stars 7, Flames 3

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 11-3-2 in their last 16 games.

*The Flames are 10-6-0 in their last 16 games.

*The Stars have allowed 21 goals in their last 11 games (1.91 per game).

*The Flames have allowed 27 goals in their last 13 games (2.08 per game).

*The Stars have won five of their last six at home (5-1-0).

*The Flames are 1-7-1 in their last nine on the road.

*The Stars have scored on the power play in five straight games and are 7-21 (33.3 percent) during that stretch.

*The Flames are 14-14 on the penalty kill over the last five games.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has goals in three straight games and points in five straight (three goals – five assists – eight points).

*Flames defenseman Mark Giordano has nine points (two goals, seven assists) over the last seven games.

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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