Friday, January 14, 2011
By Mark Stepneski
Atlanta Thrashers at Dallas Stars
Saturday, January 15
TV: TXA 21
About the Stars
The Stars defeated Edmonton, 3-2, on Tuesday at American Airlines Center, snapping a five-game winless streak at home. Kari Lehtonen made 39 saves in the game, and James Neal scored the game-winning goal in the third period.
“It is two points, and two very important points for us,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said. “I think over the last six [home] games, we’ve played better and not gotten the two points and at the end of the day, there’s nothing like winning. You win, maybe not as well as you would like, but it’s so important to get the points when they’re there and available to be had.”
The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five games.
Lehtonen will start in goal Saturday, making his first start against his former team.
D Karlis Skrastins will return after missing three games with a concussion.
Injuries: D Matt Niskanen (hand) and F Toby Petersen (foot) are out.
About the Thrashers
The Thrashers lost 5-2 to Philadelphia in Atlanta on Friday. After scoring late in the second period to tie the game 2-2, the Thrashers were outscored 3-0 in the final period of the game.
“We played hard enough, we created some chances but we didn’t bear down around their net and we lost battles in our zone along the walls and it ends up in our net,” said Atlanta coach Craig Ramsay. “You can’t lose a defensive zone battle against a team of this quality. They’re going to make something happen.”
The Thrashers are winless in their last three (0-2-1) and are 3-6-2 over their last eleven games.
Chris Mason is expected to play in goal for the Thrashers on Saturday.
Injuries: LW Fredrik Modin (lower body), C Jim Slater (concussion) and LW Ben Eager (suspension) are out.
*This is the first and only meeting between the teams.
*The Thrashers won last season’s meeting, beating the Stars 6-5 (OT) in Atlanta.
*The Stars are 10-1-1 all-time against Atlanta, including 5-1-0 in Dallas.
*The Stars are 10-2-1 against Eastern Conference teams this season.
*The Stars are 16-5-4 over their last 25 games.
*During their current five-game points streak (4-0-1), the Stars have outscored their opponents 17-8.
*The Stars are 14-15 (93.3%) on the penalty kill during the points streak and 5-14 (35.7%) on the power play.
*Atlanta was 3-3 on the penalty kill against Philadelphia Friday night, but the Thrashers have allowed nine power play goals over their last five games, including five in a 9-2 loss to Toronto.
*The Thrashers have seven power-play goals over the last seven games and are 7-34 (20.6%) on the PP during that stretch.
*Stars right wing Loui Eriksson is on an eight-game points streak (one goal, eight assists).
*Stars center Mike Ribeiro has points in seven straight games (three goals, five assists).
*Atlanta’s Dustin Byfuglien leads all NHL defensemen with 16 goals and is tied for the lead in defensemen scoring with 41 points.
*Atlanta’s Tobias Enstrom is fourth in defensemen scoring with 39 points and second in assists with 31.