The Dallas Stars, on one hand, have to feel good about starting their extended Eastern Conference road trip 2-1-0 and having won three of their last four. On the other hand, there are the standings to consider with so little hockey left to play.
And there's also the cost of those wins. Trevor Daley in one, and now John Klingberg after a combination of hits in multiple games- the most recent coming in goonishly late hit in Philadelphia.
He's likely out tomorrow. Like Trevor Daley. Like Jason Demers (illness).
And when one player has illness on a road trip...We'll check out the team's energy level when things get cranking tonight. One player who could return and have energy? Cody Eakin, who didn't play due to an undisclosed disciplinary issue.
So thin on defense they'll rely on Kari Lehtonen to build on a very solid outing against the Flyers, against whom he finally earned his first win.
The Hurricanes are allowing the third least shots on goal in the league at just 27.4 per game- And they allow the opposition only 2.65 per game (compare to Dallas' 3.25...). They're a decent home team at 15-12-7. They have the ninth ranked power play by percentage.
So why are they 27th out of 30 in the NHL standings? They can't score. Their 155 goals rank 5th worst in the league.
Or...can they score?
That stat might be a complete misrepresentation of the team in its current state. Between November 29th and January 6th the Hurricans endured a stretch of 18 games in which they scored one or fewer goals 12 times- 25 goals in all in that span.
25 goals. In 18 games. That will dip your season averages.
The truth is lately they score without issue. In their last 25 games they've potted 74 for an average of 2.96- A season long pace like that would have them 6th in the league.
So don't be decieved. They've 5-3-1 in their last nine and they can indeed score. They're good in their barn, earning points in five of their last six though their playoff hopes were eliminated long ago.
One area to watch out for tonight- That aforementioned power play. Carolina has scored 23 home power play goals on 93 attempts- Good for the 4th best home power play in the National Hockey League at a blistering .24.7%, including scoring on five of its last nine chances.
Their leading scorer is Justin Faulk on defense with 44 points, followed be Eric Staal (43), Elias Lindholm (33) and Jeff Skinner (29).
Their lineup, or something like it:
"They're a high-octane group," coach Bill Peters said of Dallas. "They score a lot of goals, they get up and down the ice, play real fast and when we're on top of our game we do too."
From Stars PR:
BENN THERE DONE THAT
Stars captain Jamie Benn has seven points (4-3=7) in his last four games against Carolina, including a three-point effort (1-2=3) last season in a 4-1 home win on Feb. 27, 2014. In eight career games against the Hurricanes, the captain has 10 points (6-4=10) and recorded two points (1-1=2) in the first meeting of the 2014-15 season. The native of Victoria, B.C. is currently tied for tenth overall in League scoring with 62 points (23-39=62) and leads the club in scoring and assists, along with second in goal-scoring.