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Stars-Penguins Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Pittsburgh Penguins

Thursday October 16, 2014
6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (1-1-1) are coming off a 4-2 victory at Columbus Tuesday. Jamie Benn had one goal and three assists and Tyler Seguin scored three goals for the Stars. Both Benn and Seguin notched their first points of the season in the game.

"The message between [Benn] and me going into tonight's game is we needed to raise our compete level," Seguin said. “It’s a great feeling to get the win, especially on the road.”

Thursday’s game wraps up a stretch of three straight on the road for the Stars and the Penguins will present another stiff challenge.

“Pittsburgh, the first two names that come to your mind are [Evgeni} Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “And I think late [last] year we played a heck of a game against them. It is frustrating those guys, not giving them the open ice, not giving them the easy opportunities. That’s our challenge. I think they have a little bit different look, but I still think they’ve got high-end offensive talent and a couple lines that are real dangerous.”

Jamie Benn did not practice Wednesday, but he is fine and is expected to play Thursday in Pittsburgh. Ruff said he is considering playing left wing Curtis McKenzie, who was recalled from the AHL due to an injury to forward Valeri Nichushkin. If McKenzie does play, it would be his NHL debut.

Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip) and D Sergei Gonchar (ankle) are out. C Rich Peverley (heart) is on long-term injured reserve.

About the Penguins

The Penguins (2-0-0) last played Saturday, winning 5-2 at Toronto. Sidney Crosby had one goal and two assists, giving him six points (three goals, three assists) in the first two games of the season.

“It's always important [to get off to a good start],” Crosby said. “You come in with the mentality that you want to start quick and get some momentum and confidence. I had a long summer and a lot of time to think about last year and we're all pretty excited to get started. It's nice to see it translated into a couple of wins.”

While the Penguins have big guns in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said his team will have to be aware of the Stars big duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

“When [Benn] came out last night in Columbus, he took over the game right away, right from the opening faceoff,” Johnston said. “He’s a big power forward who can plays. He fought, which was a timely fight in the game. [His] line with Seguin is starting to work – I know they’ve put different wingers with them – but I know those are two guys we are going to have to pay special attention to.”

Thursday’s game kicks off a three-game homestand for the Penguins.

Injuries: RW Beau Bennett (wrist) and D Derrick Pouliot (shoulder) are out.

Series Notes

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

*The Stars were 1-1-0 (2 points) against Pittsburgh last season.

*The Penguins were 1-1-0 (2 points) against Dallas last season.

*The Stars have lost six straight games in Pittsburgh and have not won there since an 8-2 victory on Dec. 23, 2000.

*The Stars are 58-66-14 all-time vs. Pittsburgh.

Statistical tidbits

*The Penguins have scored 11 goals in their first two games.

*The Penguins have outscored their opponents 6-1 in the first period.

*The Stars have outscored their opponents 3-1 in the first period.

*The Penguins have outshot their opponents 80-54 in their first two games (40.0 to 27.0 per game).

*Opponents have outshot the Stars 94-87 over the first three games (31.3 to 29.0 per game).

*Pittsburgh is 4-9 (44.4 percent) on the power play.

*The Stars are 1-8 (12.5 percent) on the power play.

*The Penguins are 6-11 (54.6 percent) on the penalty kill.

*The Stars are 10-12 (83.3 percent) on the penalty kill.

*Sidney Crosby leads Pittsburgh in goals (3) and points (6).

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (3).

*Jamie Benn leads the Stars in points (4).

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 8-5-3 with a 2.76 goals against average and .911 save percentage in his career vs. Pittsburgh.

*Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is 6-1-0 with a 2.10 goals against average and .921 save percentage in his career vs. Dallas.

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