NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, April 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (37-27-11) at Carolina Hurricanes (33-32-11), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Dallas Stars will try to bolster their
playoff chances with a fourth straight victory when they visit the Carolina
Hurricanes in Thursday's clash at PNC Arena.
The Stars, who are after their first postseason berth since 2008, currently
hold the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. They are even with
the Phoenix Coyotes in points with 85, but have played two fewer games.
Minnesota holds the first wild card position with 89 points and the Stars also
have a game in hand on the Wild.
In addition to winning its last three games, Dallas also has taken five of six
outings since an 0-3-1 stretch from March 14-20.
The Stars have exploded for 16 goals over their three-game winning streak and
the club did it with both offense and defense the last time out, slamming the
Washington Capitals, 5-0, in Tuesday's road game in D.C.
Kari Lehtonen had 35 saves in his fourth shutout of the season to help Dallas
subdued the Capitals offense, while Dustin Jeffrey had two goals in the rout.
Tyler Seguin, Ray Whitney and Ryan Garbutt also scored for the Stars.
Lehtonen had 12 saves in the first period, 10 in the second and 13 in the
third for his 26th career shutout.
"It's fun playing when there's a lot on the line and every game is so huge,"
said Lehtonen. "We just have to keep taking this one game at a time and try to
win the next one."
The Stars have matched their season high with three straight wins. The club
last claimed four consecutive victories during a five-game run from April
Thursday's game is the third stop on a five-game road trip for Dallas, which
is 16-17-4 as the visiting club this season.
The Hurricanes are running out of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race,
but the club did halt a two-game slide with Tuesday's 4-1 triumph in
Pittsburgh. Still, Carolina is six points out of a playoff spot in the East
with only six games left on its schedule.
Elias Lindholm scored twice in the second period and Anton Khudobin made 30
stops to help Carolina pick up the win at CONSOL Energy Center. Justin Faulk
and Eric Staal also tallied, with Jeff Skinner and Andrei Loktionov adding two
assists each for the Hurricanes, who have not lost in regulation over their
last four games (2-0-2).
"We've had some tough starts over the past couple of weeks, so it was good to
get going here," said Staal. "It took us a little while, but we were able to
find the net there against one of the best teams in the league."
Beginning with tonight's contest, Carolina will play two straight and three of
its next four on home ice. The 'Canes have lost three in a row at home to fall
to 17-15-6 in Raleigh this season.
Dallas beat the Hurricanes 4-1 at home on Feb. 27, giving the Stars wins in
four straight and nine of the last 11 meetings in this series. Carolina has
dropped two in a row and three of its last five home tests versus the Stars.
04/03 10:42:40 ET