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Thomas Expected in Goal Against Flyers Tonight

Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 2:39 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Thomas Expected in Goal Against Flyers Tonight
Stars coach Lindy Ruff doesn\u2019t announce his starting goaltender, but it appears Tim Thomas will get the nod in net tonight as the Stars try to snap a three-game winless streak when they play at Philadelphia.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff doesn’t announce his starting goaltender, but it appears Tim Thomas will get the nod in net tonight as the Stars try to snap a three-game winless streak when they play at Philadelphia.

This could be a case of going with the guy who has a history of success against the Flyers over someone who has hasn’t had any.

Thomas is 14-4-2 against Philadelphia in his career with a 2.21 goals against average and .934 save percentage. Kari Lehtonen, on the other hand, is 0-10-2 in his career vs. the Flyers with a 3.50 goals against average and .891 save percentage.

Most of Thomas’ numbers against the Flyers came with Boston, but he did beat Philadelphia while playing for Florida this season, stopping 39 of 40 shots in a 3-1 victory back in November.

The Stars lineup at forward and defense should be pretty much the same as last game. Alex Chiasson is expected to play on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, a move Ruff made during Tuesday’s game in Pittsburgh.

The Stars enter tonight’s game two points behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 14 games remaining on their schedule, and they have one game in hand on the Coyotes, who play at home against Florida tonight.

The Stars have been outscored 14-3 over the last seven periods of regulation, including a 7-2 loss to Winnipeg and a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on the first two games of this road trip.

“I think our team has embraced every challenge it has had this year, and we are up against another one,” said Ruff. “We’ve put ourselves back in the middle of a heck of a race again. We’re right there, we’ve got games in hand and we just need to get to that next step again.

“Yesterday being a day off, I think our team should be energized. We are playing against a team that has really been going well. That’s our challenge. … We have to be ready right off the bat. We have to play that first 10 minutes at a higher tempo than we’ve been playing.”

The Flyers, who have won three straight and are 10-2-1 in their last 13 games, are in a battle for playoff positioning as well. They are in second place in the Metropolitan Division, but just three points up on the ninth place team in the Eastern Conference.

Steve Mason is expected to start in goal for Philadelphia.

Thursday’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at Philadelphia Flyers
Where: Wells Fargo Center
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlex Chiasson
Erik ColeCody EakinColton Sceviour
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Ray Whitney – Chris Muller – Valeri Nichushkin

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Tim Thomas
Kari Lehtonen

Flyers projected lineup

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Vincent Lecavalier - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Steve Downie
Zac Rinaldo - Michael Raffl - Adam Hall

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Mark Streit - Nicklas Grossmann
Andrew MacDonald - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason
Ray Emery

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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