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Stars-Panthers Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Florida Panthers at Dallas Stars

Thursday October 3
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/104.1 FM

About the Stars

It’s a new beginning for the Stars, who have a new GM, new head coach, several new players and new uniforms this season.

“It’s fresh. That’s the word that comes to mind,” said defenseman Trevor Daley. “There are a lot of new faces, not just in the dressing room but upstairs too. I think everybody is excited. Everybody is starting fresh and there is a good vibe around here.”

Among the Stars’ new players is Tyler Seguin, acquired in a blockbuster trade with Boston in July. He’ll center the Stars’ top line with Jamie Benn and Erik Cole on the wings. Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars’ first round pick (10th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, will be in the lineup as well. So will the newest face on defense, veteran Sergei Gonchar.

Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal for the Stars.

Dallas plays its first two games at home, including a tilt against Washington on Saturday.

Injuries: F Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) and D Aaron Rome (hip) are out.

About the Panthers

There’s a lot new this season with the Florida Panthers, who finished last in the NHL last season. They have a new owner in New York businessman Vincent Viola and ten new players on the roster. Among the new players this season is goaltender Tim Thomas, who will get the start in goal on Thursday.

"I think there's a positive energy," Thomas told reporters on Wednesday. "They're really looking forward to growing and getting better in the organization. I think new ownership brought a very positive direction to the team."

The Panthers made a series of moves over the past week, signing Thomas, defensemen Ryan Whitney and Tom Gilbert and forward Brad Boyes and trading for forward Krys Barch.

Jonathan Huberdeau, the 2013 Calder Trophy winner, and Aleksander Barkov, the second overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, are expected to play on one of Florida’s top lines along with Boyes.

The Panthers’ first four games of the season are on the road.

Injuries: D Ed Jovanovski (hip), F Sean Bergenheim (hip/abdomen), C Nick Bjugstad (concussion), RW Steve Pinizzotto (hip) and G Scott Clemmensen (knee) are out.

Series Notes

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

*The last time the two teams met was Nov. 15, 2011, when Florida won 6-0 at American Airlines Center.

*The Stars are 11-8-6 all-time against the Panthers, including 4-4-4 at home.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars were 5-0-2 in the preseason, including a 2-0-0 mark vs. Florida.

*The Panthers were 3-1-3 in the preseason, and were 0-1-1 vs. Dallas.

*C Tyler Seguin led the Stars in preseason scoring with 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists)

*D Erik Gudbranson (3 goals, 3 assists) and D Brian Campbell (0 goals, 6 assists) led Florida in preseason scoring with 6 points each.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 13-6-4 in his career vs. Florida with a 2.52 goals against average and .923 save percentage.

*Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas is 2-1-1 in his career vs. Dallas with a 1.49 goals against average and a .953 save percentage.

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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