Feb 17, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars right wing Reilly Smith (18) watches as the puck gets by Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman (26) and goalie Joey MacDonald (35) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Flames defeated the Stars 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Stars vs. Flames - Can the Stars win one at home?

In the final game of a four-game home stand, the Stars will face the Calgary Flames for the last time in the regular season.

Not only will the outcome of tonight’s game either break or further propel what has turned into a undisputable tailspin for the Stars, it could also either change the tide for the second half of this short season, or decisively slam the playoff door shut . The two teams measure up in numerous ways, including season records with Calgary sitting at 11-11-4 and Dallas as 12-12-3, indicating tonight’s game will be gritty and intense.

Though the Flames have beaten the Stars in both of the previous meetings this season, Dallas is outperforming Calgary in some respects. Despite Saturday’s eight-goals-allowed game, the Stars are averaging 2.98 goals a game, while the Flames average 3.23. Dallas is also stronger on the penalty kill with a 82.6 percent kill rate, while Calgary sits at 76.2. The Stars are trailing the Flames in power play percentages, 18.4 percent to 20.4 percent, but if previous games are much of an indication, penalty killing will be where the Stars need to focus energy.

The return of Jamie Benn was expected to be a strong factor in Saturday’s game, but couldn’t truly be celebrated due to the outcome. Benn’s interview response post-game Saturday could be an indication of the energy he and the team as a whole will put toward ending the current string of unsuccessful home games.

Also, the Flames have struggled on the road recently, going 0-5-1 in their last six games on the road.

Either team could break open the floodgates for a strong close to this short season with a win tonight.

Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff will not be in goal tonight, with the anticipated arrival of his second child, and Mikael Backland will be out with a foot injury. Out for Dallas are Ryan Garbutt who’s still out with a hand injury and Aaron Rome who’s also out with a foot injury.

The puck drops at 7:30 and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.

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Tags: Calgary Flames Dallas Stars NHL

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