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Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Calgary Flames (8:00p CT)

Dallas Stars (0-0-2)
@ Calgary Flames (4-0-0)

Friday, October 9th, 2009, 8:00 CST
The Saddledome

Local TV: FS-SW
Radio: KTCK 1310 The Ticket

The winless Dallas Stars are in Calgary tonight to take on a Flames team that just can't seem to lose.

The Flames have opened their season at 4-0 for the first time since their 1993-1994 campaign and will look to continue that roll against the Stars tonight. Calgary is coming off a shootout win last night in Edmonton, something the Stars failed to do on Tuesday night, losing 5-4 to the Oil. The Stars continue their three game road trip in search of their first win of the year tonight at 8:00pm CST.

Last year these teams split the season series 2-2, something they've done in each of the past three seasons.

Dec. 2nd Stars @ Flames W 3-2
Feb. 3rd Flames @ Stars W 3-1
Mar. 18th Stars @ Flames L 2-1
Apr 2nd Flames @ Stars L 2-1

After the jump, injury news for both sides, a look at how the Stars matchup with the Flames, predictions from the Calgary media and more...

A Year Ago: A stupid, stupid man made a dumb comment to the Calgary media, and the Stars got a badly needed 3-2 road win at the Saddledome. Long overdue change was made in the locker room, and the reset button on the season was pressed that night. While the situation this go-around is FAR from that cold December night, Dallas wouldn't mind seeing Calgary once more serve as a launching pad to a nice stretch of Stars hockey.

This year: The Flames find themselves playing their third game in four nights, but firing on all cylinders. Calgary has scored 16 goals in their first four games on tallies from 12 different goal scorers. Mikka Kiprosoff is the only Calgary player yet to register at least one point.

Key Matchup: Flames PP versus Dallas PK. The Flames opened the season 5-for-7 on the PP in their first three games. The Stars PK is currently tied for 25th in the NHL.


The Flames Left-Wing Rene Bourque has gotten off to a hot start with 2 goals and 4 assists in the teams first four games, and Stars fans hope that Dallas LW James Neal, unquestionably the teams best player so far this year, can keep pace tonight. The Morning News takes a look at James Neal and his fantastic start to this season:

"He looked like an NHL player dropped into a men's senior league game. He was that good," Clement said of the young Stars winger. "He looked that much faster, that much stronger and hit that much harder than everybody else in that hockey game. I was really impressed with James Neal."
Dallas Stars / NHL

Heady stuff for a 22-year-old who is just in his second season of NHL play?

"I just have to keep playing hard and try to be more consistent," Neal said Thursday as he prepared for tonight's game against Calgary at the Pengrowth Saddledome. "It's good to hear that, obviously, but you can't get too caught up in it."


What they're saying: The Calgary Herald has an awesome roundup of predictions from media types around town up there. Be sure to check it out. Here's the one I like the best:

Flames difference-maker: C Olli Jokinen. With the top unit showing signs of waking from its slumber, the Finnish pivot is due to break loose. Thursday’s shootout goal won’t hurt his confidence.

Stars difference-maker: LW Brenden Morrow. The captain is showing that he’s fully recovered from knee surgery. One of the best leading-by-example dudes in the league.

Score: 4-3 Dallas (sorry, folks). Remember, this team tends to be cruddy in the second half of back-to-backs — so, till we see otherwise


Key Injuries: Jere Lehtinen will continue to be cautious, sitting out this contest with his lingering groin issue. Mike Modano is still out with a cracked rib.

For Calgary, defenseman Cory Sarich (ankle) and winger Brian McGrattan (shoulder) are questionable.


Opponent blog: Matchsticks and Gasoline.

And we've had some great in-game comments and discussion happening in the Game Day Threads so far this season and we look forward to seeing everyone back tonight, making Stars hockey fun. Thanks everyone.

Do you have a prediction? Leave your prediction for tonight's game in the comments.