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Stars-Flames Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames

Friday December 19, 2014
8:00 p.m.
TV: TXA-21
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (12-13-5) opened a three-game road trip with a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night. Kari Lehtonen was superb in stopping all 27 shots for his second shutout of the season.

"He gave us a fighting chance in the first period to win a hockey game, and the second period we answered the bell by going after them pretty good," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “There was a lot of good things, a lot of good shot blocks, and the defending in the last 40 minutes was pretty good."

Ruff had planned on starting Anders Lindback in one of the first two games of the road trip, but will start Lehtonen again Friday against the Flames.

“There is some common sense involved,” Ruff said. “The answer to your question is yes (Lehtonen will start). I like the way he played, getting the shutout. Things change.”

Alex Goligoski (maintenance) and Jordie Benn (illness) both missed practiced Thursday. Both are expected to play Friday.

“We’ve got three or four guys fighting head cold/congestion,” Ruff said. “Not the flu, but more the congestion, cough and stuff like that.”

Forward Ryan Garbutt will serve the final game of his three-game suspension for slew-footing Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien. Garbutt will be eligible to return Sunday at Edmonton.

Injuries: RW Ryan Garbutt (suspended), RW Patrick Eaves (ankle), RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip) and D Patrik Nemeth (arm) are out.

About the Flames

The Flames (17-14-2) are coming off a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers Tuesday in Calgary. It was the sixth straight loss – all of them in regulation – for the Flames.

"It's on us tonight," Flames defenseman Kris Russell said. "There's a few other games I felt could have went our way, but we handed them their goals tonight. They're an opportunistic team, a team that when they get opportunities, they score goals. They have too much firepower to give them too many 2-on-1s and have breakdowns like that. So, it's on us.”

The Flames have been outscored 21-10 during the six-game skid.

“I think we just have to play a little simpler,” Russell told the Flames’ official site. “I think we’re pushing the pace a little too much, trying to create too much too often and we’re putting ourselves in bad positions. I don’t think its work ethic. We come to work every night but at the same time in areas we’re overworking and trying to do a little too much. We have to simplify it.”

Jonas Hiller will start in goal for the Flames on Friday. Goaltender Karri Ramo missed practice Friday due to illness.

The Flames announced Wednesday that they signed head coach Bob Hartley to a multi-year extension.

Injuries: G Karri Ramo (illness) is questionable. C Mikael Backlund (abdominal) and D Ladislav Smid (upper body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of three meetings between the Stars and Flames this season.

*The Stars were 2-0-1 (5 points) vs. Calgary last season.

*The Flames were 1-2-0 (2 points) vs. Dallas last season.

*The Stars are 63-62-33 all-time vs. Calgary.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 7-2-1 vs. the Pacific Division.

*The Flames are 5-3-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Flames have scored two goals or fewer in five of their last six games.

*Calgary leads the NHL in third period goals with 42.

*The Stars have allowed 39 third period goals, third most in the NHL.

*Calgary is 8-0-0 when leading after two periods.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 8-3-2 vs. Calgary in his career with a 2.72 goals against average and .910 save percentage.

*Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller is 5-11-1 vs. Dallas in his career with a 2.81 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

*The Stars are 8-1-2 when leading after two periods.

*Tyler Seguin leads Dallas in goals (23) and points (38)

*Jiri Hudler leads the Flames in goals (13). Defenseman Mark Giordano leads the Flames in points (31).

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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