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Stars-Penguins Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars

Thursday March 19, 2015
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (32-28-10) had a three-game winning streak come to an end with a 3-0 loss to St. Louis Sunday. The Stars and Blues were scoreless after two periods, but St. Louis scored a 4-on-4 goal, tallied on the power play and then sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the third period. The Stars had a 28-21 shots advantage in the game but were 0-6 on the power play.

“We played a good game. We played the game we should have played. We didn't give up much; we had some execution problems, just missed on some plays,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “They did a great job getting sticks and feet on a lot of plays, but I felt the way we were playing that we'd come out of top. I thought our defense played better than their defense.”

Stars defenseman John Klingberg, who missed the past three games with an upper-body injury, is expected to return Thursday. Defenseman Alex Goligoski did not practice Wednesday due to illness but is expected to be ready to play Thursday.

Thursday’s game is the second of a four-game homestand for the Stars, who enter the game eight points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

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

About the Penguins

The Penguins (39-21-10) lost their third straight game, falling 2-0 at New Jersey on Tuesday. The Penguins have scored one goal on 108 shots during the three-game slide.

“The frustrating part is that we still are creating offense and getting a lot of pucks to the net but we haven't been able to finish,” Penguins defenseman Paul Martin said. “That's the toughest part. When you're missing some key guys, that's when you still need to make plays and get to the net and execute.”

Center Evgeni Malkin (lower body) and right wing Patric Hornqvist (undisclosed) were both out Tuesday and will miss Thursday’s game as well.

Thursday’s game is the second of a three-game road trip for the Penguins, who currently sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division. They are two points behind second-place New York Islanders and two points ahead of fourth-place Washington.

Injuries: C Evgeni Malkin (lower body), RW Patric Hornqvist (undisclosed), RW Pascal Dupuis (blood clot) and D Olli Maatta (upper body) are out.

Series Notes

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

*The Stars won 3-2 in Pittsburgh on Oct. 16.

*The Stars are 2-0-1 in their past three home games vs. Pittsburgh.

Statistical tidbits

*The Penguins have scored one goal or fewer in six of their past eight games.

*Through Tuesday’s games, the Stars ranked second in the NHL with 149 goals scored during 5-on-5 play.

*Through Tuesday, the Penguins were tied for sixth in fewest 5-on-5 goals allowed at 113.

*Pittsburgh is 1-22 on the power play over the past eight games.

*The Stars are 21-23 on the penalty kill over the past nine games.

*The Stars are 2-5-3 in their past ten games at home.

*The Penguins are 5-3-2 in their past ten games on the road.

*The Stars are 8-1-1 in their past ten games vs. the Eastern Conference.

*The Stars are 17-11-2 vs. the East this season.

*The Penguins are 15-5-3 vs. the Western Conference.

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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