Flames-Stars Preview

While the Dallas Stars – aside from a loss to the Calgary Flames

– have proven unbeatable over the last two weeks, things could get

a bit shaky with Kari Lehtonen’s status unknown.

They likely won’t get much sympathy from the Flames, who

continue to play without the injured Miikka Kiprusoff.

Seeking a sixth win in seven games, Dallas opens a three-game

homestand Sunday looking to avenge its disappointing effort versus

Calgary.

The Stars (8-6-1) pulled out a 4-3 victory at Vancouver on

Friday as Antoine Roussel tied the game 12:22 into the third period

and Brenden Dillon scored the game-winner with just over three

minutes to go. Michael Ryder also came up big with two assists for

Dallas, which improved to 5-1-0 since Feb. 4.

“We’re going to be a team that has to do it collectively and we

need contributions from everybody,” coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We

got them and that’s what is going to have to happen to us moving

forward.”

Unfortunately for Dallas, Friday’s win may have come at a cost.

Lehtonen, who entered the weekend with a 1.77 goals-against average

during a five-start winning streak, stopped all seven shots he

faced against the Canucks before leaving with a lower-body injury

in the first period.

If Lehtonen, listed as day-to-day, can’t play against Calgary

(4-5-3), the Stars could go with Richard Bachman, who came on to

make 18 saves Friday. Bachman has compiled a 4.03 GAA in dropping

both his starts this season, including Wednesday’s 7-4 road loss to

the Flames. The third-year goaltender allowed a career worst-tying

six goals in that contest.

“I’ve said this again and again, he’s a mentally strong guy,”

Gulutzan said. “He came off a game in Calgary that he wasn’t happy

with, but he came in in relief here, made some big saves and then

at the end, you could see he was getting more and more confident,

and that’s a big step for him.”

The Stars are 10-2-4 in their last 16 home matchups against the

Flames, who’ve posted mixed results since losing Kiprusoff to a

sprained knee ligament Feb. 5. The Finland native is expected to

miss at least another week.

Calgary won its first game without Kiprusoff but has since gone

1-2-1 while allowing an average of 3.8 goals. Two days after

beating Dallas, the Flames saw their woes resume Friday in a 5-2

loss to St. Louis.

Leland Irving allowed two goals on four shots before being

replaced in favor of Joey MacDonald just over four minutes into the

game. MacDonald was handed the loss after stopping 18 of 21 shots

in his team debut.

A day later, the Flames assigned Irving to their Abbotsford

affiliate and recalled goaltender Danny Taylor from the AHL.

“When we claimed Joey MacDonald off waivers we did so with the

expectation that he would play games for us,” Flames general

manager Jay Feaster said in a statement. “Now that he has seen some

game action we intend to use him more.”

Curtis Glencross scored his team-leading sixth goal and Dennis

Wideman added his third, but the Flames never really had a chance

after entering the second period down 4-0.

“We dug ourselves a really big hole against a very good hockey

team,” Wideman said. “Anytime you spot a team like that four goals

in the first, it’s not going to be too many times you’re going to

be able to come back.”

Michael Cammalleri, who recorded a hat trick to go along with an

assist versus Dallas on Wednesday, has seven goals and 12 points in

his last seven matchups against the Stars.

Calgary has gone 4-1-0 when scoring at least four goals compared

to 0-4-3 when recording three or fewer.