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Stars Face Back-to-Back Challenge in Boston

The Dallas Stars got off to a great start against the Ottawa Senators, but the team lost momentum from a few failed power plays, and when the Senators upped the intensity and physicality after a power play of their own, Dallas just couldn’t find a way to match up.

Scott Wedgewood kept the Stars in the game for most of the first few periods, but when Thomas Chabot snuck a point shot over the goaltender’s pad, Dallas had no response. The tight game turned into a rout in the third period, the only positive being a late goal from Wyatt Johnston – a goal that may cement the 19 year old as a full time NHL player.

Dallas heads to Boston, where Jake Oettinger returns to the net against the always tough Boston Bruins. Jacob Peterson drew in against Ottawa and was mostly invisible. Maybe not enough shown by Peterson to keep Denis Gurianov out of the lineup, depending on the message the coaching staff wants to send. The Stars continue the early season trend of defenders taking penalties, with Ryan Suter and Jani Hakanpaa as the culprits last night. Between penalties and performance, Hakanpaa has had a rough start.

With a back to back game, it might be time to get Joel Hanley his first action of the year. It might put Miro Heiskanen back on his off side, but for one game, its probably worth it. With the team traveling from Canada last night, there will be no morning skate, so we’ll have to wait for warmups to see what the personnel looks like.

Dallas Stars Expected Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Mason Marchment (27) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Denis Gurianov (34)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Joel Kiviranta (25) – Radek Faksa (12) – Luke Glendening (11)

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

Jake Oettinger (35)

Boston Bruins Expected Lineup

Pavel Zacha (18) – Patrice Bergeron (37) – Jake DeBrusk (74)
Taylor Hall (71) – David Krejci (46) – David Pastrnak (88)
Trent Frederic (11) – Charlie Coyle (13) – Craig Smith (12)
Nick Foligno (17) – Tomas Nosek (92) – AJ Greer (10)

Hampus Lindholm (27) – Matt Grzelcyk (48)
Derek Forbort (28) – Connor Clifton (75)
Jakub Zboril (67) – Mike Reilly (6)

Linus Ullmark (35)

Boston is missing winger Brad Marchand and two key right handed defenders, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. They picked up Anton Stralman to back up one of the right defender spots, but he’s only played one game, leaving the Bruins left-side dominant (and about as weak as they’re going to get) on the back end.

The Bruins will rely heavily on their top two forward lines, so the Stars depth should play to their advantage.

Keys to the Game

Intensity and focus. It looked like the Stars hit a wall after their strong start against the Senators. Ottawa took the body at every opportunity, and given a lack of time and space, Dallas couldn’t make tape-to-tape passes. The team attempted to skate through multiple defenders, turning the puck over in the neutral zone – all of which turned into rush/counter attacks on Wedgewood.

Stay out of the penalty box. This has been a point of focus for the past few games, but apparently it isn’t taking. The penalty kill has exceeded expectations so far, but this will revert to the mean at some point, and when it does, taking four or more penalties a game will be hard to overcome.

Normalcy. It’s a long season. One loss is no reason to panic. Go back to basics, make accurate passes, hit the offensive zone with speed. All of the things that were a winning combo for the Stars during their first five games.

Talking Points