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Preview: Montreal Canadiens @ Dallas Stars (7:00pm CST)

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Shea Weber would ordinarily focus on Jamie Benn. The loss of the captain makes everyone else a little worse two-fold tonight.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars return to the ice tonight after a rare three-day break to host the Montreal Canadiens. It's a relaxed stretch for the Stars, who play just once in a six-day span to start 2017.

The practice time is needed- And the time to rest injured captains, too, after the Florida Panthers stormed Dallas' castle in the first period Saturday night, taking a 3-0 lead and a pound of flesh as well en-route to the win.

The Canadiens, meanwhile, enter off an emotional win for two of their number last night as Shea Weber (goal) and Alex Radulov (assists on both MTL goals) stuck it to their former employer in an overtime win while dominating possession.

Shot attempts were 76-49 in favor of the visitors and the Habs forced Pekka Rinne to make 41 saves in the loss. Weber and Radulov were not only the big names on the scoresheet last night- They also dominated possession with 77% and 75% Corsi numbers at even-strength.

At 23-9-6 Montreal leads their division and enter play tonight with a four-game point streak, though they've not surpassed the three goal total in a game in the last three weeks. Carey Price, of course, is a strong deodorant for that, as you know.

Last night's game was the third consecutive outing in which the Habs went over the 40 shot total.

News from Stars practice on Tuesday was that Dallas might trade skill for peskiness.

Antoine Roussel is going to make a decision today on whether or not to return from a four-game absence due to upper-body troubles, Ruff told the media after practice. He's been skating and seems like a good bet to get back into the lineup.

On the other side of the coin, of course, is the Stars' captains Jamie Benn who will miss his first contest due to injury since 2013 with what some are calling a "foot" injury- Though it looked more like an ankle problem on the slow-motion replays on New Year's Eve.

"I think this is a situation where it's our responsibility to keep him out because he could probably play," Ruff told media. "But to what effect he would be and where he would be in a couple days would be a big concern of ours."

Cryptic.

Either way, no Jamie. No super line. There are implications on the penalty kill, the power play and for Ruff's line combinations and their endless transpositions and transfigurations.

Mr. Mark Stepneski of Dallasstars.com told the world of these line combos from practice-

  • Sharp-Spezza-Seguin
  • McKenzie-Faksa-Ritchie
  • Hudler-Eakin-Eaves
  • Korpikoski/Roussel-Shore-Cracknell

So there's certainly no shortage of bodies. Meanwhile, is this an indication that Stephen Johns could find his way back into the lineup?

  • Lindell-Klingberg
  • Hamhuis-Johns
  • Oduya-Benn
  • Nemeth-Oleksiak

Only witches, fairies, and Lindy Ruff and his mustache could possibly know.

In goal, Antti Niemi got a pretty raw deal from the guys in front of him Saturday night and Kari Lehtonen looked good a couple of nights after getting plowed by Iginla. That situation is wait-and-see as ever.

From Stars PR:

OF MONTREAL

The Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens meet on Wednesday night for the first of two games during the 2016-17 regular season. Last season, the Stars collected points in both games (1-0-1) against the Canadiens. Dallas is riding a two-game winning streak (2-0-0) against Montreal and has won three of the last four games (3-1-0) against them at American Airlines Center. In the most recent meeting in Dallas between the two teams, the Stars defeated the Canadiens, 6-2. Captain Jamie Benn (2-1=3) and forward Jason Spezza (1-2=3) each had three-point outings and forwards Patrick Sharp (1-1=2) and Tyler Seguin (1-1=2) posted multi-point games. The Stars tied a season-high with three power play goals (3-for-8, 37.5%) and killed off 5-of-6 (83.3%) opportunities on the man-advantage for the Canadiens.

TYLER SEGUIN'S HOUSE OF PAYNE

Forward Tyler Seguin recorded an assist (0-1=1) on New Year's Eve against Florida and has points in four-straight games (3-3=6) and nine points (3-6=9) over his last eight games. He registered his ninth multi-point game of the season and the 102nd multi-point contest of his NHL career with a three-point outing (2-1=3) vs. Colorado on Dec. 29. Since joining the Dallas Stars prior to the 2013-14 season, Seguin has 76 multi-point games, which is the second-most in the NHL over that span (most: Sidney Crosby, 90). Seguin shares sixth in the NHL with 38 points (13-25=38) in 38 games this season and is tied for sixth in the League with 25 assists. Additionally among League leaders, the forward ranks fifth in shots (132), is tied for fifth in power play points (15) and shares sixth in power play goals (7). The native of Brampton, Ont. has points in four of his last five games against the Canadiens (4-4-8). Seguin has recorded points (4-3=7) in all three games against Montreal on home ice while wearing a Dallas Stars sweater. Over his NHL career, Seguin has posted 19 points (8-11=19) in 21 games against the Canadiens.