The Dallas Stars' four-game road swing resumes tonight in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes after two days off following a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins Tuesday in bean-town.
Dallas split their back-to-back set between Toronto and Boston but is still looking for their first complete performance on the trip after managing just one goal on James Reimer and then getting badly out-shot by the Bruins in the victory thanks to Tyler Seguin's hat trick.
The Hurricanes dropped four of their first five games to start the season but reeled off three straight victories last week before the Lightning halted things on Sunday. Their offense, as last season, was slow to start but they've since scored three goals in each of their last four outings.
Dallas maintains their top spot in the West by just a hair, and more worrisome still is that six of the West's top eight spots are occupied by Central Division teams, and only five can go to the playoffs.
Dallas will try to hold on to that lovely perch tonight starting just after 6:00pm on Fox Sports Southwest.
First things first - who will start in net? Mike Heika thinks it will be Kari again.
Antti Niemi working late in practice, so guess is Kari Lehtonen in goal vs. Carolina.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) November 5, 2015
Ales Hemsky practiced yesterday and could be ready to go, but Lindy Ruff said he had not decided between sticking with the lineup from Boston or reinserting the veteran battling his recovery from hip surgery.
Tuesday looked like this-
The Stars have won three of their last four in Carolina.
Patrick Sharp and Johhny Oduya will reunite with former fellow Champion Kris Versteeg this evening at PNC Arena.
After struggling to score goals last season (27th in the league, 2.23 goals per game) the Hurricanes acquired him just before preseason in a salary-cap clearing transaction for the Blackhawks, and he's adjusted well so far.
Here are some notes from "Today's Slap Shot" on just how successful Versteeg has been in transitioning to Carolina:
Versteeg leads the ‘Canes in 5-on-5 shot attempts for (Corsi) at 63.02 per 60 minutes.
He ranks third on the team and 26th in the NHL, as of Monday, in 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage at 57.8 percent for.
He ranks fourth on the team in 5-on-5 scoring chances for at 28.21 per 60 minutes.
And over the past five games, the ‘Canes boast a whopping 87-46 shot attempt advantage during his ice time. [Today's Slap Shot]
Their lineup looks top heavy, but with Versteeg on the second unit with all of his success, and Skinner on the third, they appear to have weapons that can score throughout-
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They lost James Wisniewski for the year with a torn ACL just 47 seconds into his debut this season against Nashville. Carolina traded goaltender Anton Khudobin to Anaheim for him over the summer, but the loss leaves them thinner on D.
It may be a quiet affair - their last two home crowds have been reported at 9,081 and 9,345.
From Stars PR:
HERE COMES THE STORY OF THE HURRICANES
The Dallas Stars play the third contest of their four-game Eastern Conference road trip (1-1-0) on Friday night in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes. Last season, the Stars split the season series against Carolina (1-1-0) but won their only matchup against them, 5-3, at PNC Arena on March 12, 2015. Dallas raced to a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period, behind goals from defensemen Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers. Goligoski finished the game with two points (1-1=2) and forward Cody Eakin recorded a third period goal to secure a multi-point outing (1-1=2). The Stars have won three of their last four games (3-1-0) against Carolina at PNC Arena.
THE DYNAMIC DUO
Stars captain Jamie Benn (10-10=20) and forward Tyler Seguin (8-12=20) each have 20 points this season and share the NHL lead in points. Benn is also the League leader in goals (10) and Seguin is tied for the NHL lead in assists (12). Benn and Seguin now share the team record for the most points recorded by a Dallas Stars player through the first 13 games of a season. Since the Stars acquired Tyler Seguin prior to the 2013-14 season, Benn and Seguin have combined for the most points by two players on one team with 367 points (161-206=367). Additionally, Benn's 186 points (79-107=186) and Seguin's 181 points (82-99=181) rank second and third respectively for most total points by a single player since the start of the 2013-14 season (Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby ranks first with 194 points).