One lose was all it took for the Dallas Stars to fall from first in the division to third and into the final playoff spot. After losing to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night at home, the Stars now have to pick themselves up and figure out a way to get back to winning games like they did during their eleven-game points streak. The Stars will need to do it right away too, as they only have eight games to play and all but one will be against teams in the playoff hunt. It will start with two straight games against the Calgary Flames as the two teams have a home-and-home series starting with the Saturday afternoon contest in Dallas, and the second game starting the Stars four-game road trip. The Flames are slumping too after fighting to get back in the playoff mix, and will enter the contest in 11th in the West, but only two points behind the Stars with one less game to play. Both teams have won a combined one game in their last four contests each, and need the points to stay in the mix moving into the seasons final two weeks.
The Stars will continue to try and find a way back to winning without Mark Fistric. Fistric sat out Thursday and is expected to miss at least a couple of more games as he deals with an abdominal strain. Besides that, the Stars have everyone else at their disposal. The Flames on the other hand have a long injury list. Mike Cammalleri and defenseman Derek Smith are questionable, while young center Mikael Backlund, veteran defenseman Cory Sarich, and T.J. Brodie are all out. While the Flames continue to try to stay in the playoff picture, injuries and inconsistent play have kept them on the outside-looking-in, and the Stars need to keep them down there to keep themselves in the top eight.
The puck drops at 1PM today for an early start at the American Airlines Center, and hopefully the Stars are ready despite the early start. Dallas is 2-0 so far this season against Calgary, winning both times by a 3-2 final in some sort of extra time (once in OT, once in a shootout). Overall the Flames are 14-16-9 on the road, and the Stars will need to capitalize on the home ice as they only have two more homes games after this contest. While the Stars would rather win in regulation, just getting another two points over the Flames in any fashion should be the main goal today.
- The Flames only have five goals over their last four games and are 26th in the league in goals for.
- Miikka Kiprusoff is the main reason the Flames have held on despite their goal scoring woes and injuries. He is 6-0-4 in his last ten starts with a 2.12 goals against during that span. He might be aging but he is still one of the most underrated goalies in the league when he decides to step his game up.
- While the game ends a homestand for Dallas (1-2-0 so far), it also ends a roadtrip for Calgary (0-0-2 so far).
- Kari Lehtonen will again start for the Stars, as is expected at this point in the season.