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Stars-Penguins Preview

Friday, 01.24.2014 / 9:06 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars-Penguins Preview
Previewing Saturday night\'s tilt between the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars
Saturday, January 25
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (23-20-8) are coming off a 7-1 win over Toronto at American Airlines Center on Thursday. The Stars scored five-on-five, on the power play, shorthanded and with the teams playing four-on-four in the game. It was the second straight win for the Stars.

“We’ve found our confidence back again,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We know how we have to play to win hockey games. I think we’ve seen that the last two games.”

The consecutive wins come on the heels of a 1-8-1 start to the month of January. The Stars have outscored their opponents 11-1 over the last two games.

“We want to live in the present. Today was a good day. The last game was a good day. We’ll move on and get ready for a really good team coming in here,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We talked a lot during the tough stretch that what’s behind us we can’t really deal with. We’ve got to win the next game. Now, we’ve won a couple and we’re looking to run some together. Pittsburgh is a different beast.”

Center Cody Eakin, who left Thursday’s game with an upper body injury, did not practice Friday but is expected to play Saturday. Shawn Horcoff and Rich Peverley had maintenance days Friday and did not practice.

Injuries: C Cody Eakin (upper body) is probable. D Stephane Robidas (leg) is out.

About the Penguins

The Penguins (36-13-2) are coming off a 6-4 win at the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Penguins overcame an early 2-0 deficit in the game. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz both had one goal and two assists in the game.

“It’s hard not to have it be one of those types of games,” said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. “They do a good job of stretching it out, making long plays and having people behind us and that happened. But it had that drama. We got down by two and had to crawl back into it with two great plays by the Crosby line and Kunitz. It just seemed to be a lot of up and down flow in the game.”

Former Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen had two assists and a plus-three rating in the game. Niskanen leads the NHL with a plus-29 rating this season, and ranks 12th among NHL defensemen in scoring with 30 points (7 goals, 23 assists) in 51 games.

Injuries: LW Pascal Dupuis (ACL), RW Beau Bennett (wrist), G Tomas Vokoun (hip), RW Chris Conner (hand), C Joe Vitale (wrist) and C Brian Gibbons (lower body) are out.

Series Notes

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

*The two teams did not play last season.

*The Stars and Penguins last played Feb. 29, 2012 in Dallas with Pittsburgh winning 4-3 in a shootout.

*The Stars are 1-5-2 in their last eight games against Pittsburgh dating back to 2003-04.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars have scored on the power play in six straight games and are 7-21 (33.3 percent) during that stretch.

*Pittsburgh is 11-11 on the penalty kill over the last four games and has the top ranked penalty kill in the league at 88.2 percent.

*The Penguins have the top ranked power play in the league at 25.0 percent.

*The Stars are 11-11 on the penalty kill over the last four games.

*Pittsburgh has scored four goals or more in 10 of its last 15 games.

*The Penguins rank fourth in the NHL in scoring at 3.22 per game.

*The Stars rank ninth in scoring at 2.84 per game.

*The Penguins are 10-2-1 vs. the Western Conference.

*The Stars are 7-10-1 vs. the Eastern Conference.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn has eight points (three goals, five assists) over the last six games.

*Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen is on a six-game points streak (two goals, seven assists).

*Tyler Seguin leads Dallas in goals (21) and points (47).

*Sidney Crosby leads Pittsburgh in goals (27) and points (72).

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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 62 40 18 4 192 153 84
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 62 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 62 15 37 -3 52
E. Cole 57 18 15 4 33
T. Daley 59 16 16 -9 32
J. Klingberg 48 10 22 2 32
C. Eakin 59 14 14 -2 28
A. Hemsky 56 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 62 2 24 2 26
A. Roussel 60 12 11 -11 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 10 .905 2.97
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
 
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