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Stars-Senators Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Ottawa Senators


Thursday January 29
6:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (21-19-7) lost 3-2 at Montreal Tuesday despite a 42-26 shots advantage. It was the third time in the last five games that the Stars have had the better of play in the game and a large shots advantage, but fell short on the scoreboard.

“Most of the play was in the Montreal end. Five-on-five we dominated play,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “[Montreal goaltender Carey] Price made some unbelievable stops. They got lucky on a couple around the net, but I thought Price was fabulous.”

Thursday’s game marks the return of Jason Spezza to Ottawa for the first time since he was traded to Dallas in the summer. Spezza spent the first 11 seasons of his NHL career in Ottawa.

“I don’t know [what to expect from fans]. I hope I am remembered as giving my all and having some success here,” said Spezza. I expect them to support the team, too. They’ve always supported the club. I hope they appreciate that I gave everything while I was here and did all I could do to try to help us win.”

Stars forwards Erik Cole (upper body) and Brett Ritchie (undisclosed) practiced Wednesday and are questionable for Thursday’s game.

Thursday’s game is the second of a three-game road trip for the Stars.

Injuries: LW Erik Cole (upper body) and RW Brett Ritchie (undisclosed) are questionable. RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip) and D Patrik Nemeth (arm) are out.

About the Senators

This will be the first game after the break for the Senators, who are 19-18-9 on the season. Ottawa last played last Wednesday, defeating Toronto, 4-3, at Canadian Tire Centre. Ottawa was ten points out of a playoff spot following Tuesday’s games.

Nine of Ottawa’s next 11 games are at home, and the Senators are hoping to make a push.

"You win five or six in a row you can put yourself (2-to-4) points back," Senators goaltender Craig Anderson told the Ottawa Sun. "The key is just to keep getting points. Teams do it all the time. … You hear about teams going on 12-or-13 game (runs) without a regulation loss. That's maybe a long-term goal for us here. Maybe that's a goal for us in this 11-game stretch to get a point in every game but as far as a short-term goal, we have to kind of climb a hill as opposed to looking up a mountain."

The Senators are 10-6-4 at home this season and have registered points in seven of their last nine games at Canadian Tire Centre (5-2-2).

Injuries: D Mark Borowiecki (leg) and C Zack Smith (wrist) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the second and final meeting this season between the Stars and Senators.

*The Stars won the first meeting, 5-4, in Dallas on Jan. 13

*The Stars are 3-1-0 in their last four games in Ottawa and 8-3-2 in Ottawa since 1993-94.

Statistical tidbits

*The Senators, who won their last home game, have not put together back-to-back wins at home since the first week of November.

*The Stars are 1-2-2 in their last five games on the road.

*The Senators are 8-7-3 vs. the Western Conference.

*The Stars are 8-8-1 vs. the East.

*The Stars have scored on the power play in three of their last four games.

*Ottawa is 12-13 on the penalty kill over its last four games.

*The Stars are 6-12-3 when they outshoot their opponent and they are 12-7-4 when the opposition outshoots them.

*Stars center Jason Spezza is on a five-game points streak (one goal, five assists).

*Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson has four goals over the past four 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 DallasStars.com 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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