The Dallas Stars return to the American Airlines Center tonight for the dreaded "first home game after a long road-swing" against the New Jersey Devils.
The Stars recorded points in four of five on the trip, though dropped two in overtime as their 3-on-3 woes continue. Still, the 2-1-2 trip yielded some interesting new line combinations after head coach Lindy Ruff split misters Benn and Seguin up in the wake of election night's 8-2 drubbing at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.
Benefiting in particular has been Antoine Roussel- Integral in the wins in Edmonton and Calgary, he recorded points in all three Western Canadian contests playing along side Tyler Seguin and Patrick Eaves.
Radek Faksa and Lauri Korpikoski are the beneficiaries alongside Jamie Benn- Though, of course everyone is hoping that Jason Spezza or Patrick Sharp could return at any point. The difficult with the bodies due to reintegrate is practice time. The Stars don't have any of it. They've been travelling. They've had back-to-back sets. They had the day off yesterday. This homestand will afford them an uptick in opportunity.
So without any information to the contrary, the assumption has to be this-
Dallas was 20 minutes away from an exclamation point on a real turnaround after the Winnipeg game, but let the worst goal-scoring team in league score four times in less than 25 minutes, plus one that had to be challenged before it was disallowed.
Meanwhile in come the New Jersey Devils- A big surprise in the National Hockey League this season and winners of four straight entering this one, and they've earned points in nine of their last ten (7-1-2).
How? Adding Taylor Hall and P.A. Parenteau has helped (five goals each already this year), but it's on the back end where they've really excelled.
Cory Schneider (.927) has been everything they've hoped for, and even backup Keith Kinkaid (.944, 2-0-1) has been lights out in relief. Extremely high quality goaltending in every outing makes a bit of a difference.
Which is not to say they've rested on their backstops- New Jersey piled 41 and 43 shots on the Hurricanes and Sabres last week and they've generally been on the right side of the possession battle.
And they've done all this in-spite of their penalty kill which has given up eight goals in their last nine games, while their power play hasn't scored in five games. Meaning they score at even strength, and they don't let the opposition do so.
Beware former Anaheim Ducks. Beware former Dallas Stars (Hi Vern!). But there appears to be no need to beware noted Star-killer Michael Cammalleri, who will likely miss a third straight game due to personal reasons.
From Stars PR:
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
The Dallas Stars return to American Airlines Center after a five-game road trip to face the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night for the first of two meetings this season. The Stars have a five-game point streak against the Devils (3-0-2) and have recorded a victory in seven of the last nine games (7-1-1) at American Airlines Center against New Jersey. Last season, the Stars went 1-0-1 against the Devils, recording a 4-2 victory in the most recent meeting in Dallas on March 4, 2016. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 18-of-20 shots faced with forward Jason Spezza (1-0=1) tallying a goal and forward Radek Faksa (0-1=1) registering an assist. Spezza leads all Stars players in career points against New Jersey with 34 points (8-26=34) in 34 career games.
SEGS N' BACON
Stars forward Tyler Seguin registered three assists (0-3=3) on Sunday afternoon against the Vancouver Canucks and is now riding a five-game point streak (2-6=8) and has points in seven of his last eight games (3-10=13). Seguin is tied for first in the NHL with 20 points (7-13=20) in 16 games this season and shares second with 13 assists. The forward registered his fifth multi-point game of the season on Sunday against Vancouver and the 98th multi-point contest of his NHL career. Since joining the Dallas Stars prior to the 2013-14 season, Seguin has 72 multi-point games which is the second-most in the NHL over that span (most: Sidney Crosby, 82). The native of Brampton, Ont., has five points (2-3=5) in his six games against the Devils in Stars uniform and has points in two of his three games (2-2=4) against them at American Airlines Center. Over his NHL career, Seguin has recorded 10 points (4-6=10) in 17 games against New Jersey.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Stars forward Antoine Roussel registered two points (1-1=2) against the Canucks on Sunday and is riding a career-best six-game point streak (3-5=8), which is the longest active point streak in the NHL. Roussel has goals in three consecutive games for Dallas (3-2=5), which is a new career-long for the forward. His three multi-point games this season matches his total from the 2015-16 campaign and is the most he's recorded since the 2013-14 season, when he logged a career-best five multi-point outings. The Roubaix, France native currently paces the NHL with 54 penalty minutes and his 11 points (4-7=11) in 16 games rank fourth on the Stars. Earlier this season, Roussel earned an assist (0-1=1) for his 100th career point on Oct. 18 at Nashville to become the first Frenchman in NHL history to reach the century mark. The forward has now registered 108 points (51-57=108) in 296 career NHL games. In five career contests against New Jersey, he has recorded two points (0-2=2).