The last time the Dallas Stars rolled into Pittsburgh’s PPG arena, the date was March 11th, 2018 and the Stars had just come off a very good win against the Anaheim Ducks at the American Airlines Center. The Stars were in a playoff spot and had already taken care of the defending champions a month prior in a stimulating shootout victory. When the final horn sounded that evening, the Stars would be 3-1 losers to the Penguins, starting an historic slide from playoff contention with 8 consecutive losses.
Tonight, the Stars return to the scene where the final, traumatic act of the 2017-18 season began.
The Dallas Stars come into this tilt with the Penguins with an 11-8-2 record for a total of 24 points; good for the second wild card spot in the West (and tied with Colorado). The game this evening also wraps up a short Eastern Conference road swing that saw the club split a pair of games in New York against the Islanders (6-2 Win) and Rangers (2-1 Loss). The Stars seem to have a found a way to win on the road as of late, improving their 0-3-0 mark to start the season into a 4-5-1 mark entering Pittsburgh. The Stars also roll in with the 6th-fewest goals allowed in the NHL, but with the 21st-ranked offensive output. It’s not exactly the high-flying style we thought we’d be seeing from Jim Montgomery’s team—at least, not yet.
Down the hall from the Stars, the Pittsburgh Penguins find themselves in unfamiliar territory to start the 2018-19 campaign. The Penguins come in with a 7-8-4 record for 18 points, which is dead last in the Eastern Conference. Their home record at PPG Arena is a disappointing 3-5-2, with their latest defeat coming at the hands of the surprising Buffalo Sabres. The loss to Buffalo saw the Penguins drop to a 1-7-2 record in their last ten games played.
A top story line to watch is the injury to Ben Bishop, which is described as a soft tissue injury that will keep him from action for a week. Landon Bow has been recalled from Texas to back up Anton Khudobin, who has been exceptional in the Stars’ net so far this season. The Penguins will be looking for a surge in scoring after Sidney Crosby informed media that he will be suiting up for the Penguins tonight.
Dallas Stars Lineup:
The Stars are still dealing with injuries all over their lineup. Ben Bishop is out, John Klingberg’s hand is still healing for the next few weeks, and Devin Shore isn’t scheduled to return until Friday at the earliest. Oh, and it wouldn’t be a proper Dallas Stars game preview if we didn’t have news of another stricken Dallas defenseman, as Julius Honka is out with an illness. His loss leaves the Stars with just three defensemen who broke camp with the club, one of who is 19 years old, and another who was projected to be the seventh defenseman coming into the year. So, everything is fine.
Jamie Benn- Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark- Jason Spezza- Roope Hintz
Blake Comeau- Radek Faksa- Tyler Pitlick
Valeri Nichushkin- Jason Dickinson- Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell- Miro Heiskanen
Gavin Bayreuther- Roman Polak
Joel Hanley- Ben Gleason
Pittsburgh Penguins Lineup:
Jake Guentzel- Sidney Crosby- Patric Hornqvist
Tanner Pearson- Evgeni Malkin- Phil Kessel
Zach Aston-Reese -Derek Brassard- Dominik Simon
Bryan Rust- Derek Grant- Daniel Sprong
Brian Dumoulin- Kris Letang
Olli Maatta- Juuso Riikola
Jack Johnson- Jamie Oleksiak
The Stars will be visiting former Stars first-round draft pick Jamie Oleksiak, who notched a goal against his old team in the previous meeting. He seems to have found a nice home on the Pittsburgh D corps.
Two time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray will take a seat for Casey DeSmith, after Murray posted a dismal 4.08 Goals Against Average in 11 starts so far.
Anton Khudobin is 3-3-1 in 6 starts, with a 2.37 GAA. He has dropped the last two games that he has played in.
Tyler Seguin is riding a two-game goal streak after picking up a goal against the Islanders and a power play tally against the Rangers.
Puck Drop: 6:00pm with Josh and Razor bringing the audio and visual stimulation via 1310/96.7fm the ticket and Fox Sports Southwest Plus.