The dreaded back-to-back. The Dallas Stars need to get the first win there out of the way and it looks like they'll have Kari Lehtonen in net for a second night in a row to do it, and a Canadiens team that got to Montreal later than they did last night waiting for them.
Mike Heika calls it a bit of an emotional road trip after the welcome back for Ruff last night, and this game being special for Erik Cole, Stephane Robidas, Antoine Roussel and Alex Chiasson for obvious reasons. Read more on that angle here.
Last night Lehtonen told Mike Heika "We're going to talk and I'm going to prepare myself from this moment on to be ready to play tomorrow. I will get the recovery shakes going and a good stretch, and all of that stuff, and then we'll see tomorrow."
It appears he'll go. Does that mean the Stars backup goaltending situation is now officially where it was last season? Maybe that's another post. Lines for tonight should be the same, which is good news considering some hits taken and the flu going around...
Brenden Dillon-Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley-Sergei Gonchar
Alex Goligoski-Jordie Benn
Robidas in particular took a dangerous looking shot from a puck that hit him in the arm/wrist area, but evidently he's fine.
The Canadiens should go with something like this:
Andrei Markov-P.K. Subban
Josh Gorges-Raphael Diaz
Douglas Murray-Francis Bouillon
So after a lockout year where there was no reason for a Stars fan (none for this one, anyway) to pay attention to the East there's obviously some unfamiliarity here.
They have, for some reason, saved their number-one goaltender and his .937 save percentage for an inter-conference game on the second night of a back-to-back after Peter Budaj shut-out the Rangers last night. So that's neat.
Montreal had been scoring 3.33 goals per game at home this year before getting shutout by the Sharks on Saturday. By the numbers the Canadiens are a better possession team than the Stars are but have had a run of poor defensive play as of late.
Before shutting out the Rangers last night they had allowed a string of seven straight games in which the opponent put better than 30 on their net, averaging 35.2 over the stretch, so the Stars have to find a way to get the rubber behind their defense as well and not put too much pressure on Kari on the second night of the set.
The puck drops early tonight at 6:00pm CDT on Fox Sports Southwest.