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Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars game preview: Nobody's helping the Flames

So the Flames gotta help themselves.

Lance got into the wrong bench.
Lance got into the wrong bench.
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a while since we've seen the Dallas Stars. Not since December, in fact, right on the tail end of that eight-game losing streak that failed to knock the Calgary Flames out of playoff contention, but just might end up coming back to bite them. The Flames control their own fate, in that if they win out, they're in the playoffs... but first they gotta win out. That includes two games against the suddenly surging Stars in this upcoming week alone. They're probably not going to make up lost ground to reach the playoffs, and with points at a premium and the Flames actually still capable of reaching the dance, well... there's just one team who needs them so much more.

Something that definitely helped was the Flames' 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche last game. David Jones opened the scoring against his former team, and Jiri Hudler kept the dream alive when he scored two minutes after Alex Tanguay tied it. Some third period heroics by Lance Bouma ensured the win, keeping the Flames just barely ahead of the competition. | RecapStatsBoxscore | Karri Ramo's been mostly good lately, but that second goal against...

And the Stars? Well, they're definitely surging, a little too late. They've won eight of their last 10, so you can look at it two ways: either they're extremely desperate to claw back into the playoffs and are outplaying the competition in order to do so, or they're due for a loss. They did shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, but then required three third period goals to just barely get past the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3. Yes, the masters-of-the-tank Buffalo Sabres.

And it gets worse for them. The Stars were hurting when they lost Tyler Seguin, but he came back from his injury ahead of schedule, and has six points in eight games since his return, including a three-game point streak. The bad part? That win over the Sabres may well have cost them their captain and extremely-important-guy-to-their-team Jamie Benn. For more, head on over to Defending Big D.

Game time: 8:00 p.m. MT

Channel: SN1

All-time record: The Flames may not have won their last game, but they're winning the all-time battle: 72-62-25-6. The goal differential, though, is just a paltry +3. It'd be good to build on that.

Common threads: Since the trade deadline, both teams have backup goalies named J(h)onas. One a Swiss Hiller, the other a Swedish Enroth.

Also, David Schlemko! The Stars were kind enough to give him to Calgary for free. Then he scored that awesome goal, and has been decent depth at the same time. That was nice. I hope he gets a hat trick tonight somehow.

Approaching milestones: At long last, tonight is Dennis Wideman's 700th NHL game! There are a couple more Flames coming up just behind him, as Jiri Hudler is four away from 600, and Rafa Diaz is four away from 200. Lance Bouma, meanwhile, is eight games from his 200th.

Karri Ramo is now just seven wins away from 50! Go Karri go! Let's reach that this season.

David Jones scored last game! He's now eight goals from his 100th goal. Dennis Wideman, meanwhile, has tied his career high in goals scored during a single season, but he'll need another 10 for 100 on the career.

TJ Brodie's next point will be his 100th. That's awesome. Not bad for a fourth round pick turned budding number one defenceman.

Meanwhile, the only realistically reachable Dallas milestone for tonight is Jason Demers being three assists from 100 in his career. Possible, but not totally probable in a single game.

Scoreboard watching: There's nothing tonight. Outside of the Flames, tonight is boring and pointless.

Current records and leaders

Calgary Flames Dallas Stars
Record: 40-27-6: 86 points Record: 35-28-10: 80 points
Pacific Division: 3rd Central Division: 6th
Western Conference: 8th Western Conference: 10th
Goal Differential: +23 Goal Differential: -5
Time on ice
Defence: Mark Giordano (25:10 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:30 per game)
Defence: Alex Goligoski (23:52 per game)
Forward: Jamie Benn (19:50 per game)
Points
Goals: Sean Monahan (29)
Assists: Jiri Hudler (38)
Points: Jiri Hudler (65)
Goals: Tyler Seguin (33)
Assists: Jamie Benn (44)
Points: Jamie Benn (70)
Shots
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (170)
Shooting percentage: Jiri Hudler (19.4%)
Shots on goal: Tyler Seguin (244)
Shooting percentage: Shawn Horcoff (15.1%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (50.3%, 1623 taken) Jason Spezza (53.9%, 1098 taken)
Grit
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (68)
Hits: Lance Bouma (243)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (249)
Penalty minutes: Antoine Roussel (126)
Hits: Jamie Benn (111)
Blocked shots: Alex Goligoski (149)
ES Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)
Corsi for%: Mark Giordano (48.44%, 61 GP)
Mikael Backlund (47.15%, 43 GP) 
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (49.38%, 53 GP)
Mikael Backlund (48.94%, 43 GP)
Corsi for%: Jason Demers (55.57%, 52 GP)
Jason Spezza (54.91%, 73 GP)
Fenwick for%: Patrick Eaves (57.40%, 38 GP)
Jason Demers (56.40%, 52 GP)


Possible starting lineups

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma Mikael Backlund David Jones
Joe Colborne Markus Granlund Josh Jooris
Mason Raymond Matt Stajan Brandon Bollig
Left Defence Right Defence
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
TJ Brodie Deryk Engelland
David Schlemko Rafa Diaz
Goalies
Karri Ramo
Jonas Hiller

Dallas Stars
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Jamie Benn Cody Eakin Tyler Seguin
Patrick Eaves Jason Spezza Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel Vernon Fiddler Colton Sceviour
Curtis McKenzie Shawn Horcoff Brett Ritchie
Left Defence Right Defence
Jyrki Jokipakka Alex Goligoski
Patrik Nemeth John Klingberg
Jordie Benn Jason Demers
Goalies
Kari Lehtonen
Jhonas Enroth

Looks like Mikael Backlund's been reunited with his regular linemates. Considering how Backlund's one of the best forwards on this team, and Lance Bouma and David Jones are apparently the only guys outside of the top line who can score anyway, might as well!