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Stars-Panthers Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers

Thursday March 5, 2015
6:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (28-26-10) snapped a six-game winless streak with a 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. After allowing a game-tying goal with just over one second left in regulation, the Stars bounced back to win on a Cody Eakin goal in overtime.

“It’s part of that next step to get over that hurdle where you deal with adversity and fight even harder. We’ve dealt with a lot in this building, and that was just another one,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “But to bounce back and come down the ice and score the goal we scored, it was something we needed in this building and something our fans needed too.”

The Stars lost defenseman Trevor Daley after he look a knee-on-knee hit from Islanders forward Matt Martin. Daley is expected to miss at least a couple weeks, according to Stars coach Lindy Ruff. The NHL suspended Martin one game.

Thursday’s game will be the first time the Stars have played Florida since Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov injured Stars center Tyler Seguin with a low hit in Dallas on Feb. 13. Seguin is still out with a knee injury. The league suspended Kulikov four games. Ruff expects his team to focus on a much-needed win and not Kulikov.

“Those situations are always in the back of your mind. We’ve got a game you’ve got to win,” Ruff said. “We feel like when something like that happens, the league has to deal with it. The team on the ice needs to go out and win a game. We don’t need to lose anybody in the process. So, we are going to try to focus on getting two points.”

Thursday’s game kicks off a stretch of five straight on the road for the Stars.

Injuries: D Trevor Daley (lower body), C Tyler Seguin (knee), LW Travis Moen (upper body) and RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip) are out.

About the Panthers

The Panthers (28-23-13) lost 3-2 to Toronto Tuesday. Both Florida goaltenders – starter Roberto Luongo and backup Al Montoya – were injured in the game and goaltending coach Rob Tallas almost had to play. Forward Derek MacKenzie was also under consideration to go into the net. Montoya played through a groin injury and then Luongo returned from injury and finished the game.

"Obviously, it was a bizarre game," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said.

Both Luongo and Montoya are listed as day to day, and the Panthers have recalled Dan Ellis from the AHL and Sam Brittain from the ECHL. Ellis will start Thursday against the Stars.

Dan Ellis is an NHL goalie, we know that,” Gallant said. “Things didn’t go great for him a couple years ago, but he’s an NHL goalie and he’s played a lot of games in the league and he’s won games. We are confident in Dan.”

Thursday’s game is the fifth of a seven-game homestand for the Panthers, who are two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Injuries: G Roberto Luongo (upper body), G Al Montoya (groin), C Dave Bolland (upper body) and D Willie Mitchell (upper body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Stars and Panthers.

*The Stars won, 2-0, in Dallas on Feb. 13.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 5-5-0 on the road since the All-Star break.

*The Panthers are 5-3-2 at home since the break.

*The Stars are 13-10-2 vs. the Eastern Conference, including 5-7-1 vs. the Atlantic Division.

*The Panthers are 10-10-6 vs. the Western Conference, including 1-7-4 vs. the Central Division.

*The Panthers are 4-14 (28.6 percent) on the power play over the past three games.

*The Stars are 7-7 on the penalty kill over the past three games.

*Dallas’ John Klingberg and Florida’s Aaron Ekblad co-lead NHL rookie defensemen in scoring with 34 points.

*Klingberg has 10 goals and 24 assists in 50 games.

*Ekblad has 11 goals and 23 assists in 64 games.

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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