If there ever was a chance for the Stars to sweep a back-to-back, and overcome their well-documented back-to-back woes, playing the Flames might present the best opportunity for the Stars. This is the second meeting between these two teams, with the Stars winning the first matchup on October 24, 5-1 in dominating fashion.
The Flames began the season 4-2-2, but since then, they have gone 2-7-1. In their last game on Tuesday night, the Flames lost to the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in overtime, coming back from a 2-0 deficit, but the Sharks thoroughly dominated possession.
Jiri Hudler leads all Flames with 19 points, courtesy of six goals and 13 assists. Close behind him are 2013 sixth overall pick Sean Monahan with 12 points (seven goals and five assists), and Mike Cammalleri with 11 (eight goals and three assists). Reto Berra will start in net for the Flames tonight.
The Stars enter this matchup after winning an ugly 3-0 game over the hapless Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night. The Stars had plenty of chances to put that game away with six power play opportunities, but failed to score on any of them. The power play has not scored in its last 12 opportunities, and that is something that must improve going forward.
Tyler Seguin leads all Stars with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists), followed by team captain Jamie Benn with 16 (six goals, 10 assists) and Alex Chiasson with 11 (five goals, six assists). Chiasson has not scored a goal since his two-goal game against the Flames back on October 24, and has just two points in his last nine games. The Stars would really like to see Chiasson regain his scoring touch.
Kari Lehtonen will start tonight for the Stars. This will be his eleventh straight start, and the second time this season he has played the second night of a back-to-back. Lehtonen only saw 22 shots from the Oilers Wednesday night en route to his first shutout of the season.
Looking at Fenwick-For percentages (FF percent), the Stars hold the edge over the Flames in all-important aspects during 5-on-5 play. Overall during 5-on-5 play, the Stars’ FF percent is 51.2, and the Flames FF percent is 47.9. When the score is tied during 5-on-5, the Stars lead the Flames in FF percent 51.7 to 46 percent, and when the score is “close” during 5-on-5, the Stars lead the Flames 52.3 percent to 48.2 percent.
On paper, the Stars appear to be the favorites, but just because these statistics can predict which team will have the puck more does not necessarily mean that team will score more goals. The stats can only predict which team will have more chances to score goals. That was certainly evident for the Stars Wednesday night against the Oilers, as they only scored one goal during 5-on-5 play despite leading 29-19 in unblocked shot attempts.
The Stars have a great chance to end their back-to-back woes against the Flames, but they need to convert power play chances and hit the net more. The Stars have played well over their last 10 games, and fans hope the team can continue its great stretch of play.