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Stars Look to Bounce Back Against Canadiens

After a trap game against Edmonton, can Dallas turn things around headed into the Christmas break?

Dallas Stars v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s a bit hard to believe, but the Montreal Canadiens are sitting at a .500 points percentage 33 games into the season. Throw out a 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars, and they have a winning team.

In that game, Joe Pavelski put up a hat trick and the top line did top line things. So did Jake Oettinger.

Now Dallas gets to try it all again, after a pretty lackluster performance against the Edmonton Oilers. It’s not that the Stars didn’t have their chances, but they squandered quite a few - and for one of the first times this season, the team faded as the third period wore on.

This is the last home game until the New Years Eve tilt against the San Jose Sharks. Next week, the team hits the road for a pair of Division matchups against the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. It’s easy to see how this team could just hit the holidays a bit early, but its a lot easier to celebrate after a W.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Joel Kiviranta (25) – Ty Dellandrea (10) – Tyler Seguin (91)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Mason Marchment (27)
Riley Tufte (15) – Luke Glendening (11) - Radek Faksa (12)

Miro Heiskanen (4) – Nils Lundkvist (5)
Ryan Suter (20) – Colin Miller (6)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)

Pete DeBoer likes to roll all four lines. It’s perhaps telling that Riley Tufte pulled just over six minutes against the Oilers. With Denis Gurianov out on a leave of absence and the Texas Stars not scheduled for another game until December 30, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a call-up after the break: Marian Studenic is likely the favorite, but don’t rule out Jacob Peterson, Fredrik Karlstrom or any number of the other AHL forwards who have been tearing things up over the last month.

Montreal Canadiens Lineup

Cole Caufield (22) - Nick Suzuki (14) - Kirby Dach (77)
Juraj Slafkovsky (20) - Jonathan Drouin (27) - Josh Anderson (17)
Evgeni Dadonov (63) - Christian Dvorak (28) - Mike Hoffman (68)
Anthony Richard (90) - Jake Evans (71) - Joel Armia (40)

Joel Edmundwon (44) - Kaiden Guhle (21)
Jordan Harris (54) - Johnathan Kovacevic (26)
Arber Xhekaj (72) - Chris Wideman (6)

Jake Allen (34)
Samuel Montembeault (35)

Injuries have pushed Montreal to ice a younger lineup. Coufield, Suzuki and Dach have shown to be a formidable unit. The fourth line doesn’t get much time or respect.

Keys to the Game

Streaks. Don’t accept a losing streak headed into the Christmas break. Come out ready to play against a team that should be beatable.

Turnovers. To start the season, penalties seemed to be the Stars Achilles Heel. That’s diminished somewhat, but sloppy turnovers, especially on zone exits and through the neutral zone have taken their place.

Stay Safe. It’s Christmas weather for Christmas in the Metroplex. Be safe if you’re going to the game, and if you aren’t, curl up with something warm. Happy Holidays.