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Stars-Panthers Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Florida Panthers at Dallas Stars

Saturday, October 24

7:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (6-1-0) won their fifth straight game, topping the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-1, Thursday. Four different Stars scored goals, and Antti Niemi stopped 33 of 34 shots. The victory wrapped up a 4-0-0 road trip for the Stars.

“The team did a lot of great things on the road,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “They hung together as a team. That’s the leadership group for me. It starts with our captain (Jamie Benn) and the supporting crew of [Patrick] Sharp, [Johnny] Oduya, [Jason] Spezza. They had a plan going into the road trip on doing some things together, staying together off the ice. The trip was all business. I thought they did a terrific job of doing the right things to make sure to be ready to play the hockey games.”

The Stars will be without D Jason Demers, who was suspended two games for elbowing Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino in Thursday’s game. Demers will be eligible to return for the Oct. 29 game vs. Vancouver.

Saturday’s game kicks off a four-game homestand for the Stars, who will play Florida, Anaheim, Vancouver and San Jose. The Stars are 2-0-0 at home this season.

Injuries: D Jason Demers (suspension), LW Travis Moen (upper body), LW Curtis McKenzie (lower body) and RW Patrick Eaves (lower body) are out.

About the Panthers

The Panthers (3-3-1) lost 3-2 at Chicago Thursday. Chicago scored on two of eight power-play chances in the game and the two goals turned a 1-1 game into a 3-1 Blackhawks lead.

“You can't spend that much time [killing power plays],” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “When you're killing penalties, you're not getting scoring chances. Sixteen minutes of a hockey game in your own zone really wears on you.”

Florida lost center Aleksander Barkov he has hit in the hand while blocking a shot. He did not return to the game.

Saturday’s game wraps up a two-game road trip for the Panthers.

Injuries: C Aleksander Barkov (upper body) is questionable.

Series Notes

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

*The Stars won the first meeting, defeating the Panthers 4-2 in Florida on Oct. 17.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars have outscored their opponents 19-9 during their five-game winning streak.

*The Stars have allowed two goals or fewer in five of their seven games. Through Thursday, they ranked fifth in goals against at 2.14 per game.

*The Stars have scored three goals or more in six of their seven games. Through Thursday, they ranked third in goal scoring at 3.57 per game.

*The Stars have not allowed a power-play goal in the past five games and are 13-13 on the penalty kill during that stretch. They are 18-20 (90.0 percent) on the penalty kill for the season, ranking fourth in the league through Thursdays’ games.

*The Stars are 7-23 (30.4) percent on the power play this season and ranked second in the NHL through Thursday’s games.

*The Panthers have allowed six power-play goals over the past four games and are 13-19 (68.4 percent) on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*Jamie Benn (six goals, four assists) and Tyler Seguin (four goals, six assists) co-lead the Stars with ten points.

*Jaromir Jagr leads the Panthers in scoring with eight points (five goals, three 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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