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Stars-Panthers Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers

Saturday, October 17

6:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (3-1-0) opened a four-game road trip with a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay Thursday. Five different Stars scored goals, and goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 shots. The Stars fell behind 1-0 but bounced back to take a 4-1 lead and then held off a late push by the Lightning.

“We came out a little slow, but I thought the rest of the first period we played good,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “They stepped up a little in the second period but [Lehtonen] gave us five or six big saves. For me, the depth of scoring, where it was coming from, and the special teams did a nice job. Everybody up front there was in on it.”

The Stars lost forward Curtis McKenzie to a lower-body injury after he was slammed into the boards by Tampa Bay’s Nikita Nesterov. McKenzie, who is on crutches, flew back to Dallas Friday to be evaluated by doctors. He has been placed on injured reserve.

“We don’t know the extent of his injury fully,” Stars GM Jim Nill said. “We know he is very sore and in a lot of pain.”

F Travis Moen did not practice with an undisclosed injury. He is questionable for Saturday.

The Stars recalled C Radek Faksa from Texas (AHL) on Friday.

Injuries: F Travis Moen (undisclosed) is questionable. RW Patrick Eaves (lower body) and LW Curtis McKenzie (lower body) are out.

About the Panthers

The Panthers (3-1-0) are coming off a 3-2 home win over Buffalo Thursday. Jaromir Jagr scored two goals and had one assist for Florida, which is off to its best four-game start since 2011-12, the last time it made the playoffs.

"If you look at it last year, we were so close, and we didn't have a great start to the season," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "Every point is important. Every game is important. So far they've been really good. They're coming to work, and they're coming to compete. We're off to a good start, but it's four games, and we've got to keep doing it."

The Panthers have allowed just five goals through the first four games of the season.

Saturday’s game wraps up a two-game homestand for Florida.

Injuries: None

Series Notes

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

*The Stars went 2-0-0 against the Panthers last season, winning 2-0 in Dallas and 4-3 in a shootout at Florida.

*The Stars are 13-10-6 all-time vs. Florida.

Statistical tidbits

*Through Thursday, the Stars were tied for fourth in goals scored at 3.75 per game.

*Through Thursday, the Panthers were tied for fourth in goals against at 1.25 per game.

*The Stars are 5-16 (31.2 percent) on the power play, including 3-7 (42.9 percent) on the road.

*The Panthers are 5-21 (23.8 percent) on the power play, including 5-12 (41.7 percent) at home.

*The Stars are 8-10 (80.0 percent) on the penalty kill.

*The Panthers are 15-17 (88.2 percent) on the penalty kill.

*Stars center Jason Spezza has four goals in the past two games.

*Stars rookie Mattias Janmark is on a four-game points streak (two goals, two assists).

*Spezza (four goals, two assists) and Ales Hemsky (one goal, five assists) co-lead the Stars with six points.

*Jaromir Jagr leads the Panthers with six points (four goals, two 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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