Looking to get back on the two-point track, Lindy Ruff’s Dallas Stars (23-19-8) play host to Jon Cooper’s Tampa Bay Lightning (32-15-5) on Thursday night. Game time at the American Airlines Center is 7:30 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.
This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season.
Last season, the clubs split the two games.
A matchup between the Stars and Lightning pits the NHL’s two highest-scoring teams against one another. Tampa paces the NHL at 3.17 goals per game, while the Stars aren’t far behind at 3.14 goals per game. The big difference between the teams: Tampa ranks in the top one-third of the NHL in goals against average (2.52), whereas Dallas continues to rank near the basement defensively (3.20 GAA, 27th of the NHL’s 30 clubs).
It is worth noting, however, that the Bolts have been a far more dangerous team at home this season (21-4-5) than they’ve been on the road (11-11-4). Meanwhile, Dallas got off to a horrendous start at home this season and have scrambled to get their home record to its current 11-10-6.
The Stars enter this game coming off a disappointing 3-2 shootout loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Dallas took a 2-0 lead into the third period and clung to a one-goal lead until Colorado forced overtime with a tying goal in the final 20 seconds of regulation. The Avs then prevailed in a marathon shootout.
On the Dallas injury front, Valeri Nichushkin (hip surgery) and Patrik Nemeth (severe forearm laceration from a skate cut) are on injured reserve. Backup goaltender Anders Lindbäck, formerly with Tampa, is on a conditioning assignment to the AHL’s Texas Stars to put in some much-needed work.
The Lightning are coming off a similarly heartbreaking loss on Tuesday. The Bolts took a 1-0 lead over St. Louis in the latter portion of the third period but were unable to slam the door. The Blues tied the game late and then won in overtime.
On the Tampa injury front, defensemen Matt Carle (abdominal muscle) and Radko Gudas (knee) are on injured reserve.