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Stars-Hurricanes Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Carolina Hurricanes at Dallas Stars

Thursday, February 27
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (27-21-10) will be playing their first game out of the break and their first since Feb. 8, when they defeated Phoenix 2-1.

“I look for a great deal of urgency from our team,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I think on one side of it, Carolina will have a little bit of an advantage because they’ve had a game to get the rust off. For us, it’s creating enough urgency in our play to overcome not playing in two-and-a-half weeks.”

The Stars were 6-1-2 heading into the break, and that helped moved them into a playoff position when the league stopped play for the Olympics.

“We realized early [in the season] when we went on that pretty good stretch that when we play good hockey we can beat any team in the league,” forward Shawn Horcoff said. “For us now, it’s going to be important to keep that mentality, especially with 24 games in pretty much six weeks. There is no time to dwell on negatives, you have to stay positive and refocus for games. We’re playing three games every five nights, so there’s not a lot of time to practice and work on things, so we’ve got to stay focused.”

The Stars play their first three games and seven of their first nine out of the break at American Airlines Center.

Injuries: D Stephane Robidas (leg) is out.

About the Hurricanes

The Hurricanes (26-23-9) played the NHL’s first game following the Olympic break, falling 3-2 at Buffalo Tuesday night. Carolina’s Eric Staal tied the game with 3:08 left in the third period, but Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff scored with 43.4 seconds left to give Buffalo the victory.

"We had lots of chances," Staal said. "We had plenty of two-on-ones, three-on-ones, chances right in front of the net, rebounds, second-chance opportunities. The looks are there, you want to have that killer instinct, especially when it's a close game, to bury them. Tonight, (Sabres goaltender Ryan) Miller made a lot of good saves."

Carolina goaltender Cam Ward returned from a lower-body injury and stopped 15 shots in his first start since December 31.

Tuesday’s game was the first of five straight on the road for the Hurricanes, who were three points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference following Tuesday’s loss.

Injuries: D Joni Pitkanen (heel surgery) is out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of two meetings between the Stars and Hurricanes.

*The two teams did not play last season.

*The Stars and Hurricanes last played November 6, 2011 in Raleigh with the Stars winning 5-2.

*The Stars are 38-25-6 all-time versus the Carolina franchise.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 4-1-1 in their last six games at home.

*The Hurricanes are 4-3-0 in their last seven on the road.

*In their final nine games before the Olympic break, the Stars allowed 1.33 goals per game and 23.7 shots per game.

*The Stars outscored their opposition 27-12 in posting a 6-1-2 mark in their final nine games before the break.

*The Stars are 8-10-2 vs. the Eastern Conference.

*Carolina is 7-8-5 vs. the Western Conference.

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (24) and points (56).

*Jeff Skinner leads Carolina with 23 goals.

*Eric Staal leads Carolina with 46 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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