Bill Meltzer: Stars Gameday: 10/24/14 @ NJ


In the first game a two-night road trip to the east coast, the Dallas Stars (3-1-2) are in Newark to take on the New Jersey Devils (3-2-1) at the Prudential Center. This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. They will rematch in Dallas on December 13. Last season, Lindy Ruff’s Stars went winless in two meetings with Pete DeBoer’s team.

Game time tonight is 6:25 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Prior to the opening faceoff, the Devils will hold a ceremony honoring Glenn “Chico” Resch, the team’s longtime broadcasting color analyst and a former NHL goaltender who spent parts of five seasons in the 1980s with the Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils after his heyday with the New York Islanders.

The Stars enter this game with a 3-0-1 record over their last four games. The team has scored 11 goals over the last two games. However, Ruff has been concerned with the frequency of defensive lapses in recent matches and pledged to find a “happy medium” between stifling the club’s offensive creativity and ignoring the need for attention to two-way play.

Dallas is coming off a 6-3 home win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. The Stars built a 5-0 lead in less than 22 minutes of play and then got sloppy the rest of the way. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who had a strong bounceback game after a subpar outing in his previous start, held the fort with 43 saves.

The Stars’ top-line duo of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn has been on fire offensively of late. In their last four games, Seguin has torn up the opposition for five goals and 10 points. He was named NHL First Star of the Week last week. Over the same span, team captain Benn has posted four goals and eight points.

Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski (minor skate cut, plus an undisclosed nagging injury) participated in practice yesterday after taking a maintenance day on Wednesday. He is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Elsewhere on the Dallas injury front, Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin) and Sergei Gonchar (ankle) remain out of the lineup. Patrik Nemeth (severe forearm laceration) is out for the season.

Tomorrow night, the Stars head to Uniondale, NY, to take on the New York Islanders (4-2-0). Ruff has said he will likely split the goaltending duties this weekend between Lehtonen and Anders Lindbäck but would not reveal which goaltender will get which game.

There is chance that rookie defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka could make his NHL debut for the Stars in one of the next two games. If he plays, one of Jamie Oleksiak or Kevin Connauton is likely to be the player scratched in his favor.

The Devils (3-2-1) are coming off a 4-3 overtime home loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday. The Devils held a 3-1 lead in the third period but the Devils got into penalty trouble and yielded a pair of power play goals. New York completed the comeback win with 2:18 remaining in overtime.

Ageless former Stars right winger Jaromir Jagr has posted five points (one goal, four assists) for the Devils through the first six games of the regular season. New acquisition Mike Cammalleri (five goals, two assists) and Adam Henrique (three goals, four assists) share the team scoring lead thus far with seven points apiece. Cory Schneider (3.13 GAA, .898 save percentage in six games) is expected to get the start in goal tonight.

On the New Jersey injury front, forward Martin Havlat (facial laceration) is questionable for tonight’s game. Checking forward Jordin Tootoo (foot injury) is out.

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