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Monday, February 20, 2012
Stars-Canadiens Preview

By Mark Stepneski

Dallas Stars at Montreal Canadiens
Tuesday February 21
6:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (29-26-4) lost 3-2 to Nashville at American Airlines Center Sunday. The Stars, who are three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, have just one win in their last six games (1-3-2).

“We’ve got to get some kind of consistency with winning and I think that point is probably right now,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “You say it’s the Phoenix game and after that game you say, maybe it’s this one, but it’s probably right now. Your desperation has to be as high as it’s going to get.”

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for the Stars Tuesday.

Injuries: D Sheldon Souray is doubtful. C Jamie Benn (leg) and LW Brenden Morrow (neck/shoulder) are out.

About the Canadiens

The Canadiens (24-26-10) are coming off a 3-1 home loss to New Jersey on Sunday. A victory would have moved the Canadiens to within four points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We all know how important these games are, especially tonight when we had a chance to make up some ground,” Habs forward Max Pacioretty said. “It’s frustrating that, myself included, we came out the wrong way. If we’d played like we did in the third period, we would have had better results.”

Montreal fell to 2-4-1 in its last seven home games.

Injuries: RW Brian Gionta (biceps), D Andrei Markov (knee), LW Travis Moen (upper body), C Petteri Nokelainen (leg) and RW Mike Blunden (knee) are out.

Series notes

*This is the first and only meeting between the two teams this season.

*The Stars won last season’s only meeting, defeating the Canadiens 5-2 in Dallas.

*The Stars are 31-70-21 all-time against Montreal.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 4-5-2 since the All-Star break.

*The Canadiens are 5-5-1 since the break.

*The Stars are 7-6-2 vs. the Eastern Conference this season.

*The Canadiens are 4-5-4 vs. the Western Conference.

*The Stars have scored two goals or fewer in 14 of their 17 games. Excluding goals awarded for shootout wins, they have 32 goals during that stretch for an average of 1.88 per game.

*The Canadiens have allowed three goals or more in nine of their last 14 games.

*The Stars are 16-22 (72.7%) on the penalty kill over the last seven games.

*Montreal is 7-24 (29.2%) on the power play over the last eight games.

*Stars forward Michael Ryder has 4 goals during a six-game points streak.

*Montreal forward Max Pacioretty has 6 goals during a six-game points streak.