Stars-Penguins Preview

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
11:09
PM CT
Pittsburgh Penguins at Dallas Stars
Wednesday February 29
6:30 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (33-26-4) are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Vancouver on Sunday. Mike Ribeiro scored with 52.5 seconds left to tie the game and Loui Eriksson won it with 1:8 left in overtime. It was the fourth straight win for the Stars, who continue to hold down the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“We’re battling for that last playoff spot, and hopefully we can get maybe a little bit higher,” Stars center Vernon Fiddler said. “Momentum at this time of the year is very important, and it seems like over the last four games we’ve been building that, and we have to roll with it.”

Stars center Jamie Benn will return to the lineup after missing six games with a leg injury.

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for Dallas.

Injuries: C Jake Dowell (finger) and LW Brenden Morrow (neck/shoulder) are out.

About the Penguins

Pittsburgh (36-21-5) won their third straight game, defeating Columbus 4-2 on Sunday. The Penguins scored three third period goals to break a 1-1 tied and goaltender Brad Thiessen stopped 21 shots in his NHL debut. The win completed a weekend back-to-back sweep of Tampa Bay and Columbus for Pittsburgh.

"That's two big consistent wins for us," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought we had two good responses."

Wednesday’s game is the first of two-game road trip for the Penguins. They play at Colorado Saturday.

Injuries: F Arron Asham (upper body) and G Brent Johnson (undisclosed) are day-to-day. C Sidney Crosby (concussion/neck) and RW Tyler Kennedy (ankle) are out.

Series notes

*This is the second of two meetings between the two teams.

*Pittsburgh won the first meeting, defeating Dallas 3-1 in Pittsburgh on November 11.

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 8-5-2 since the All-Star break.

*The Penguins are 8-4-1 since the break.

*Pittsburgh is 6-13 (46.2%) on the power play over the last four games.

*The Stars are 21-23 (91.3%) on the penalty kill over their last seven games.

*The Penguins have allowed just two power play goals over their last 12 games and are 37-39 (94.9%) on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin has scored 5 goals in the last three games.

*Stars center Mike Ribeiro has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) during a seven-game points streak.

*Over his last three starts, Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen is 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals against average and .965 save percentage.

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