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Flames vs. Stars Preview

The Flames embark on a two-game road trip as they visit the Dallas Stars tonight at 6:30 p.m. MT.

Working hard or hardly working?
Working hard or hardly working?
Derek Leung

Dallas Stars (32-23-10), 8th in Western Conference

The Stars have kept on rolling lately despite losing forward Rich Peverley for the season after the forward collapsed on the bench during Monday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. That game was cancelled, but that Stars have won three straight heading into tonight's contest, with wins over the St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks.

A 7-2-1 record in their past ten games has helped the Stars jump into the final playoff spot in the West with 74 points, one point more than the Flames' next opponent, the Phoenix Coyotes, but with two games in hand.

If Dallas' previous record against the Flames this season is any indication, they should have no problem increasing their lead over the Coyotes tonight. The Stars have won both games versus the Flames in 2013-14 by a combined score of 12-4. But this is a Flames team that unleashed a 7-2 beatdown on the Anaheim Ducks, a team that has one of the best records in the NHL, on Wednesday night, so really anything could happen.

In the absence of Shawn Horcoff and Cody Eakin, the Stars have recalled forwards Travis Morin and Chris Mueller from the AHL.

Players to Watch

  • Jamie Benn has goals in three straight games for the Stars in 12 points in his past eight.
  • Tyler Seguin has eight goals and 14 assists in 12 games.
  • Tim Thomas, because, well, he's Tim Thomas. He played his first game with the Stars in their 3-2 overtime win against the Blues on Tuesday night.

Projected Lines

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Valeri Nichushkin
Erik Cole - Jeremy Morin - Colton Sceviour
Antoine Roussel - Vernon Fiddler - Alex Chiasson
Ray Whitney - Chris Mueller - Ryan Garbutt

Alex Goligoski - Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn - Brenden Dillon
Kevin Connauton - Sergei Gonchar

Tim Thomas

Calgary Flames (26-33-7), 14th in Western Conference

It has been an emotional week for the Flames as well, as the team announced that forward Matt Stajan has taken a leave of absence following the death of his newborn son. We here at M&G have been and will continue to keep Matt and Katie in our thoughts.

The death of Saginaw Spirit forward Terry Trafford has also had an impact on former teammate Sean Monahan, who played with him at the AAA-level in Ontario before both joined the ranks of the OHL.

The Flames have bounced back after two tough losses to the Canucks and Kings earlier this week, however, and have done so in a big way, exploding for four goals in the first period of Wednesday's 7-2 win over the Ducks.

Corban Knight scored his first career NHL goal and six different players under the age of 25 scored at least a point for the Flames, all a good indication that the rebuild is moving in the right direction.

After starting five consecutive games, Joni Ortio will warm the bench for the Flames tonight as Joey MacDonald gets his first NHL start since November while Karri Ramo recovers from a knee injury sustained before the Olympic break.

Players to Watch

  • Mikael Backlund had two goals and an assist in Wednesday's rout of the Ducks
  • Lance Bouma had two assists in Wednesday's game, and drew praise from Don Cherry last weekend for his shot-blocking talents, and a contract extension might be on the way for Fancy Pants Lance. Truculence! Pugnacity! Testosterone!
  • Joey MacDonald will play in his first NHL game since he was in net for a 4-3 loss to the Red Wings back on November 1st, a game I was at. MacDonald's numbers have been no better in the AHL, as the veteran 'tender has gone 5-10-0 with a .885 SV% with the struggling Heat.

Projected Lines

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - Paul Byron
Mike Cammalleri - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne
Curtis Glencross - TJ Galiardi - Brian McGrattan
Ben Hanowski - Corban Knight - Kevin Westgarth

TJ Brodie - Mark Giordano
Kris Russell - Chris Butler
Ladislav Smid - Tyler Wotherspoon

Joey MacDonald

Game time tonight is 6:30 MT/8:30 ET on Sportsnet West! Don't forget to visit Defending Big D for all of your Dallas Stars needs.