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Stars-Lightning Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning

Thursday, October 15

6:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (2-1-0) defeated Edmonton 4-2 Tuesday at American Airlines Center. Jason Spezza scored three goals and Kari Lehtonen made 26 saves for the Stars, who outshot the Oilers 52-28 and had an 87-48 advantage in shot attempts.

“I think we played really well,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “I think we had the puck for the majority of the game. If we played the majority of our games like that, I think with fifty plus shots, we’re going to win a lot of games.”

Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay begins a four-game road trip for the Stars, who also play at Florida, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Lightning will provide a good test in game one.

“They are an excellent team,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We played them hard and played them well (last season). Two teams that create a lot of opportunities and two of the top teams when it comes to creating chances. It should make for a heck of a game because they are as good as anybody at making plays in small places and they’ve got some shooters from the outside that can take advantage. And they’ve got a big defense with good reach and size and that alone creates extra problems.”

The Stars placed forward Patrick Eaves on injured reserve Wednesday and recalled forward Curtis McKenzie from Texas (AHL). Eaves could be out a couple weeks, according to Ruff.

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (lower body) is out.

About the Lightning

The Lightning (3-1-0) suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday, falling 3-1 to Detroit at Joe Louis Arena. It was a tight-checking contest that featured just 45 shots on goal between the two teams that faced off in the first round of last season’s playoffs.

“That was deja vu, playoff game all over again,’’ Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper told The Tampa Tribune. “There was not a lot of room out there, both teams were under 25 shots (on goal). They picked the corners, we didn’t.’’

Tuesday’s game was the third road game in four nights for Tampa Bay. Thursday’s game begins a two-game homestand.

Injuries: F Cedric Paquette (foot) is day-to-day. G Andrei Vasilevskiy (blood clot) is out.

Series Notes

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

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

*The Lightning have won five of the last six meetings against the Stars.

*The Stars are 20-11-3 all-time vs. Tampa Bay.

Statistical tidbits

*The Lightning (3.16 goals per game) and Stars (3.13 goals per game) were the top two scoring teams in the league last season. This season, Tampa Bay has 14 goals in four games (3.50 per game), and the Stars have ten goals in three games (3.33 per game).

*The Stars and Lightning both are 3-13 (23.1 percent) on the power play.

*The Stars are 6-8 (75 percent) on the penalty kill.

*Tampa Bay is 7-12 (58.3 percent) on the penalty kill.

*Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky co-lead the Stars with four points each.

*Ryan Callahan, Jonathan Drouin, Victor Hedman Anton Stralman co-lead the Lightning with four points each.

*Stars rookie Mattias Janmark is on a three-game points streak (two goals, one assist).

*Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman has a three-game points streak (4 assists).

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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