The Dallas Stars return home after another successful road trip having collected three out of the available four points in tough Chicago and Toronto buildings. It's a familiar refrain for Lindy Ruff's bunch, 7-1-1 in their last nine contests away from the American Airlines Center.
The goings-on at home are a different story entirely. Dallas has dropped six of their last seven in front of their fans dating back to October 26th and with a home-heavy schedule in the lead up to the Winter Olympics the time to right the ship is now.
Dallas dominated possession against the Maple Leafs Thursday night, out-shooting the opposition 50-24 but falling 3-2 with just 52 seconds remaining in overtime.
Philadelphia's Friday practice was cancelled due to a power outage following what the team has described as a pretty rough flight during the passing winter storm.
The Stars haven't played the Flyers since December 21st, 2011- A 4-1 Flyers win. Dallas has lost six in a row overall to Philadelphia dating back to the 2008-2009 season.
Remember that the puck drops early today- About six hours early at 1:00pm CST on TXA-21 locally.
Trevor Daley was placed on injured reserve Friday as Jim Nill acknowledged that it would be "weeks" before the situation is resolved. For a typical high ankle sprain it could be as many as four. He was scheduled to have an MRI yesterday, the findings of which have not been made public.
Travis Morin was sent back to the Texas Stars yesterday afternoon and Ryan Garbutt appears to be back in the lineup this afternoon after a one-game absence with a bone bruise, so the lines should be back to something like this:
Notice that Friday's practice included placing Nichushkin back with Benn and Seguin while Peverley moves down to Horcoff and Cole. It's a curious move considering that Nichushkin has been able to generate with Cole and Horcoff as of late, so we'll see if that actually sticks.
There was, evidently, some talk that Kari Lehtonen might not play in Toronto after his large work load in Chicago but he did play, and we'd expect him to again this afternoon.
There was no word that saw about defensive pairings on Friday. Ruff used Goligoski with Dillon Thursday night and Gonchar primarily Connauton. Jordie Benn will re-join the group this evening and Aaron Rome will be an option soon.
From Stars PR: "ERIK COLE scored his fourth goal of the season in Thursday's contest and now has 11 points (4-7=11) this season. COLE has now scored goals in each of his last two games (2-0=2), marking the first time he has scored goals in back-to-back games since he scored three goals over two games from March 31 - April 4, 2012 (3-1=4). The Oswego, N.Y. native has tallied three points (2-1=3) in his last six tilts against the Flyers, and has 13 points (5-8=13) in 28 career matchups against Philadelphia."
After a 1-7-0 start the Flyers have righted the ship in a big way, going 12-6-2 since October 24th. The reason looks simple on paper: learning to cope with their lack of offensive production.
Philly scored just 11 goals in their first 8 games during that dreadful start and have gone on struggling despite winning, scoring two or fewer in 13 of their 20 other games. In 8 of their last 10 on the road they've scored two or fewer, but have shown the ability to produce the occasional five and six goal burst.
The winning has come because of their league-wide 10th best GA/G mark of 2.39. They do that despite giving up the 11th most shots per game at 30.6
Dallas catches a minor break as the Flyers will probably be without center Vincent Lecavalier (nine goals on the year) for a third straight game.
Finally, you'll notice that it's a reunion of sorts with former Dallas Stars defenseman Nick Grossmann. Stars in the lineup tonight that skated in Grossman's last Dallas game: Jamie Benn, Vernon Fiddler, and Alex Goligoski.
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