Sometimes in hockey, even the best efforts on the ice don’t always result in points. Last night the Dallas Stars had the effort on the road and got the goaltending from Kari Lehtonen, but lost in overtime 2-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes after a turn-over in overtime. As coach Glen Gulutzan put it, “we played hard, but we need results.” While they did pick-up one point, they are now 1-2-2 in their last five games and are only keeping afloat in the playoff race when they could be catching up to teams ahead of them. Tonight the Stars again get a chance to do that, as they will host the Nashville Predators. The Preds lost in their last game against the Red Wings, and they too are 1-2-2 in their last five games. But Nashville still sits in 5th in the West, and they are looking to make a push forward. Friday the Predators traded for Hal Gill from the Montreal, and the defenseman will make his debut with Nashville tonight.
The Stars will still be without Jamie Benn, Brenden Morrow, and Sheldon Souray tonight. The team is hoping Benn can be back Tuesday or Thursday, but Morrow and Souray still might be out for a while. On the other end, the Predators will be without forwards Patric Hornqvist and Brian McGrattan.
Although he played last night in Phoenix, the Stars released this afternoon that Lehtonen will start in the crease again. While the team is still saying they trust Richard Bachman (and they should considering what he has done), they have decided to go with Kari Lehtonen for both games of a back-to-back set for the 2nd straight week. Bachman has only played once since the All-Star break and the team keeps passing over chances to give Lehtonen som rest. While Kari is still looking like an elite netminder, this should be something to monitor going forward and especially late this season if he starts wearing down. Pekka Rinne should be Kari’s opponent tonight in the pipes, and the normally strong netminder might be the guy the Stars want to see. Rinne is 1-3-0 in his last five starts against the Stars with GAA close to four, and he has given up seven goals to the Stars this season in less than two games.
- The puck drops at 6:00 central time, with the early start for the Sunday evening affair. The game can be found on FoxSports Southwest and 1310AM The Ticket.
- The Stars are 2-0-0 against the Predators this season, and the teams meet one more time after tonight.
- The Stars are 0-8-2 this season on the 2nd night of back-to-backs.
- Michael Ryder continues to produce, as he is on a five-game point streak currently and is still contributing with top names out for the Stars.