The Stars will be playing against the Calgary Flames tonight in their first of a 7 game home-stand. Yeah, you heard right. Seven straight games at the AAC, we’ll see four division match-ups and six conference, leaving a single game against the powerhouse Flyers from the Eastern Conference making this home-stand HUGE going down the stretch. This is the Stars chance to work towards a clinch or better yet, home advantage in the playoffs.
The good news…
Brad Richards is back tonight. After missing 10 games with “concussion-like symptoms” it makes you wonder when that turns officially into a concussion. I guess as long as the player and team is in denial… Anyway, the all-star is back on the ice and with Benn, Loui and Goligoski playing like machines, it should make for a beautiful rainbow of offensive prowess, the likes that many have yet to see. In theory. Truth is, the return of Richards could cramp some of that style and it is unlikely he will be playing up to his own standards in the first few games back.
Second bit of good news is that the Flames aren’t quite as hot as they were when they fought their way into the middle of the playoff-8. Even with the brief sag the Flames have still managed to win 2 in a row so it will be a battle to see who pushes Chicago out of 4th place, but also who continues their brief streak as both teams look to push it to 3 in-a-row. Grossman is still out which is the only thing keeping the Stars from being completely “healthy”, you have to wonder what Calgary could possibly do to beat a Stars team that has been playing so well over the past 6 games. Don’t answer that… in fact forget I even asked it. Asked what? Yes.
Tonight we get to see who is going to fill in on the top line where James Neal left a hole on the other side of Richards opposite of Loui. We also get to see how the powerplay looks with Goligoski and Richards on the point. Hopefully better than it has been as of late. I think the excitement of this game speaks for itself so I’ll leave you to be titillated and give you my prediction.
Stars 4, Flames 2
First Goal: Loui
1st: Brad Richards
2nd: Alex Tanguay
3rd: Loui Eriksson
As you can see I’m going with the Flames not able to keep up with the offensive boost Richards gives the team in a rare game where the Stars actually outshoot their opponents. They also break their streak of allowing the first goal.