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Stars-Lightning Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Tampa Bay Lightning at Dallas Stars
Saturday, February 18
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (22-27-10) lost 3-1 at Minnesota Thursday despite a 35-26 advantage in shots on goal and 80-47 edge in shot attempts. The loss was the seventh in the past eight games for the Stars.

"At a loss for words right now," said Stars forward Patrick Eaves. "We've been playing some pretty good hockey and not getting results. It's just the way it's going, but we'll work our way out of it."

The Stars, who went 0-3-0 on their just concluded road trip, have dropped six straight games away from home. The Stars are seven points out of a playoff spot with 23 games remaining.

After Saturday's game, the Stars will take their five-day "bye week." They will then play four straight games at home, starting next Friday against Arizona.

Injuries: D Stephen Johns (illness) is day to day. D Johnny Oduya (ankle), RW Ales Hemsky (hip) and C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) are on injured reserve.

About the Lightning

The Lightning (25-24-7) are coming off their bye week. They last played Saturday, winning 4-1 at Winnipeg to extend their points streak to four games (3-0-1).

"Anytime you take five days, especially in hockey, it's not like you can jump on a bike or run down the street and stay in the shape you need to be," Lightning coach Jon Cooper told media. "These guys are in phenomenal condition, so hopefully they get a little skate today, and they are right back at it. It's urgency time for us. We had some good things going before the break, and now we just have to continue them."

Tampa Bay is six points out of a playoff spot with 26 games remaining.

Forward Tyler Johnson, who has been out with a lower-body injury, practiced Friday and will be a gameday decision for Saturday.

The Lightning recalled forward Gabriel Dumont from Syracuse of the AHL on Friday.

Injuries: F Tyler Johnson (lower body) is questionable. F Steven Stamkos (knee) and F Ryan Callahan (lower body) are on injured reserve.

Season Series

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

*The Stars were 2-0-0 vs. Tampa Bay last season.

Statistical Tidbits

*Through Thursday, NHL teams were 3-9-1 in their first game coming off this seasons' "bye week."

*The Stars are 15-9-6 at home.

*The Lightning are 11-14-5 on the road.

*The Stars are 6-10-4 vs. the Eastern Conference including 3-5-1 against the Atlantic Division.

*The Lightning are 7-10-3 vs. the Western Conference including 3-5-1 against the Central Division.

*The Stars have allowed a power-play goal in 18 of their past 22 games.

*The Lightning are 1-20 on the power play over their past six games.

*The Stars have allowed three goals or more in 14 of their past 16 games, excluding goals awarded in contests decided by shootouts.

*Tampa Bay has scored two goals or fewer in 11 of their past 17 games.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has 19 points (nine goals, ten assists) in 17 games since returning Jan. 12 after missing four games with an upper-body injury.

*Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past seven games. 

This story was not subject to 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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