Gameday preview: Carolina Hurricanes @ Dallas Stars (7:30p CST)

Well, here we are again. The Stars are playing in yet another "must win" game with serious playoff implications. And while it seems that they have lost nearly every one of these games the past three weeks, the Stars are amazingly just a point of the top 8 in the conference. So no matter how it may seem right now, the Dallas Stars still have a chance to make the playoffs. It's too bad they have to try to win against one of the hottest teams in the league. And they have to do it at the AAC which has all of a sudden become a house of horrors for the Stars.

Tonight the Stars will try to snap a six-game home losing streak, tied for the worst in franchise history. During this home-losing streak the Stars have scored just seven goals and have gone 3-33 on the power play. It's an extremely disturbing trend that must turn around immediately, or else all this hope of a playoff berth we're still talking about disappears.

Once again, the Stars will be without Jere Lehtinen and Fabian Brunnstrom, and Mark Parrish will also be held out of the game for precautionary measures. Joel Lundqvist is expected to be back in the lineup for the Stars after being a healthy scratch the past few games.

The Carolina Hurricanes are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss last night in Chicago yet are 7-2-1 in their last ten games. Before last night's game the Hurricanes had outscored their opponents 23-6 in their previous four games. Behind the rejuvenated play of Eric Staal, the Canes have surged up the Eastern Conference standings and will prove to be a tough test for a struggling Dallas Stars team.

Cam Ward will be starting tonight for the Hurricanes after carrying them into overtime last night against Chicago.

This will also be Jussi Jokinen's first game in Dallas after being traded last season to Tampa Bay in the deal for Brad Richards. He returned to the lineup last night after flying to Finland following the death of his father. I expect a really warm welcome for Jussi who was a fan favorite during his time in Dallas.

Key Injuries:

Dallas: RW Mark Parrish (head) is doubtful. RW Jere Lehtinen (upper body), LW Fabian Brunnstrom (upper body), C Toby Petersen (foot), C Brad Richards (wrist), LW Brenden Morrow (knee) and D Sergei Zubov (hip) are out.

Carolina: D David Tanabe (concussion) is out.

Stats comparison:

2008-2009 Team Stats
78 Points: 70
36 Wins: 31
5 Shutouts: 2
20 Power Play Rank: 23
19 Penalty Kill Rank: 21
.640 Win % When Leading After 1: .850
.844 Win % When Leading After 2: .857
.259 Win % When Trailing After 1: .290
.231 Win % When Trailing After 2: .043
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