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Gameday Preview: Boston Bruins @ Dallas Stars (7:30p CDT)

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Boston Bruins (2-3-0)
@ Dallas Stars (2-0-3)

Friday, Oct 16, 2009, 7:30 PM CDT
American Airlines Center

Local TV: FS-SW
Radio: KTCK The Ticket

Opponent's Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Complete Coverage >

This game could have been much bigger.

Last season, Steve Ott and the Dallas Stars put together an embarrassing performance as the team came unraveled while being dominated by the Bruins. Ott and Sean Avery joined forces to incite the entire city of Boston, leading Mike Modano to say after the game "If that's what we're going for, then they need to find me an office job."

Boston went on to post the second best record in the NHL, with players winning the Vezina, Norris and Adams trophies. Dallas missed the playoffs.

With Steve Ott out and Avery gone, the game has lost some of its revenge muster but this will still be a good test for a Stars team that is looking to build on the momentum gained from Wednesday's big win over Nashville. This weekend is the first true test for this Stars team, as they will be facing the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks on back to back nights.

Full preview after the jump.

The Dallas Stars:

Steve Ott and Mike Modano are still out with their respective injuries, although Modano is getting closer to returning. The Stars have a had a good week on the ice, combining spirited and focused practices with a great performance against Nashville as they scored four goals in the first nine minutes en route to 6-0 rout.

This team is starting to pull together under Crawford and is looking like they're finally grasping the system he's preaching. After years of playing shutdown, defensive hockey led by a team of veterans, the Stars are redefining themselves with a new identity.

"I don't think anyone was questioning it at the time, I think we all felt we could compete that way," said defenseman Stephane Robidas. "But if you look at the game and where it is going, the young teams skate hard and skate fast. Look at teams this year ... Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, Washington ... the Dallas Stars."

That's right, he said it – the Dallas Stars. But with the Stars boasting a lineup that typically features eight players who are 25 or younger, Dallas has entered a new era. And with the players buying into coach Marc Crawford's system of aggressive skating, the Stars don't look old and slow. What's more, they seem to have forged an identity pretty quickly.

"It's a fun way to play, it's an effective way to play," said center Mike Ribeiro. "What's not to like?"

Marty Turco will be in net tonight, with Alex Auld expected to get the start tomorrow against Chicago.

Projected lines:

Dallas Stars Current Lines

James Neal - Brad Richards - Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Jamie Benn
Brian Sutherby - Tom Wandell - Fabian Brunnstrom
Krys Barch - Toby Petersen - Jere Lehtinen

Nicklas Grossman - Stephane Robidas
Karlis Skrastins - Trevor Daley
Jeff Woywitka or Mark Fistric - Matt Niskanen

No word yet on whether it's Fistric or Woywitka in.

The Boston Bruins:

The Bruins are reeling a bit this season, as the goaltending has not been the same as it was last year. Boston hasn't seen a lot of turnover from the team that put up 116 points and a +78 goal differential, yet they're struggling this season. Whether it's the pressure to live up to high expectations, or just a simple bump in the road is yet to be seen. With Boston having four days to rest before tonight's game, expect an energetic and intense team to come in the AAC looking to get back on the right track.

From Stanley Cup of Chowder:

Some might think that the smell of elephant feces emanating from TD Garden this week is a result of the Bruins recent play, but it turns out "The Greatest Show on Earth" is in town and the "mediocre show on ice" is on the road. The Bruins will travel to Dallas tonight to take on the Stars before heading to Phoenix to play the Coyotes. The B's will try to bounce back from a disappointing opening home stand (2-2-0). Meanwhile, the Stars will try to do something other than lose in OT or the shootout (2-0-3).

There were plenty of fireworks last time these two teams met almost a year ago on November 1, 2009 when they combined for 146 PIMs. Two of Dallas' main instigators in last years donnybrook will not be in the lineup tonight. Dallas cut ties with Sean Avery and Steve Ott is (conveniently) hurt. Matty Niskanen is still around though and I'm sure Jack Edwards can't wait for someone to re-arranged his face to the point where he "isn't a pretty little boy anymore"

Projected Lines:

Bruins Projected Lines & D-Pairs

Marco Sturm - Marc Savard - Michael Ryder
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Blake Wheeler
Mark Recchi - Patrice Bergeron - Chuck Kobasew
Shawn Thornton - Steve Begin - Byron Bitz

Zdeno Chara - Derek Morris
Andrew Ference - Matt Hunwick
Mark Stuart - Johnny Boychuk

Key Injuries:

Dallas: C Steve Ott (oblique) and C Mike Modano (ribs) are out.

Boston: D Dennis Wideman (shoulder) is out.