The Dallas Stars again will host a team from north of the border tonight that they rarely play. After the Toronto Maple Leafs came to the American Airlines Center last week, the Stars will host the Ottawa Senators tonight as they return to Dallas to play a pair of games against Eastern Conference foes. The Stars won last seasons only meeting 2-1 in Ottawa and all-time are 15-8-2 against the Sens.
After the Stars received a crushing blow with the injury to Kari Lehtonen, Dallas received a great effort from Andrew Raycroft on Monday to pick up a win over the Avs. But the injuries are piling up for the Stars and a bad November brought the team back down to earth after their great start. After going 3-1-1 in their last five games, the Stars are going to have to rely on Raycroft and better play as a team to continue gaining points. Raycroft has mostly started in back-t0-backs, but in his first start with the team getting some rest he looked like a capable starter for the next few weeks. This will be something to monitor going forward. The big story around the Senators right now is their success. They are 5-1-1 in their last 7 games and are 11-5-2 after a bad first six games. The Sens have fought their way through some injuries to surprise many. I had them as one of the worst teams in the league before the season started and so far they are in a playoff spot. Just goes to show you anything can happen.
The Stars will again be without Brenden Morrow and Trevor Daley. Both could be back to start the five-game road trip next week or join the team in the first couple of games, but they have been ruled out for tonight and Saturday’s game. Alex Goligoski and Adam Burish on are the shelf with Lehtonen as well, but the team hopes to have all of them besides Kari back by mid December. The Senators also are dealing with a heavy injury list right now. Nikita Filatov is questionable, but Filip Kuba, Peter Regin, Chris Neil, and Matt Carkner are out of the lineup.
The puck drops tonight at the AAC at 7:30 (CST). The Stars have traditionally been a solid team against Eastern opponents at home and tonight get a chance to face a team with a less-than-stellar defense. Ottawa has the worst goals against per game one of the worst penalty kill units in the league. If the Stars could gain an early lead at home, things could really take off for them and I could see a high scoring affair for the Stars. The danger will of course be in relying to much on Raycroft and letting the Senators gain momentum early. They have a strong powerplay and as a team average four goals a game. With their current 0-for-20 streak with the man advantage, the Stars have seen some dismal numbers offensively the last couple of weeks. Without Goose or Daley to help move puck and join the offense on the back end, we have seen things become stagnant. Getting a goal or two tonight could be huge. And for those heading to the game, it is Mike Ribeiro bobblehead night, so we will have something to curse at if he keeps playing like a third line center.
You can follow myself (Austin) at Twitter.com/BlackoutDallas online for updates and chatter, and follow BlackoutDallas contributor Andrew Monrreal at Twitter.com/_Ammon. For everything about the Ottawa Senators, hop on over to SenShot.com.
Tags: Adam Burish Alex Goligoski Andrew Raycroft Brenden Morrow Chris Neil Dallas Stars Filip Kuba Kari Lehtonen Mike Ribeiro Nikita Filatov Ottawa Senators Peter Regin Toronto Maple Leafs Trevor Daley