Calgary Flames (27-22-8, 62 pts) @ Dallas Stars (28-25-3, 59 pts)
7:30 PM CT, February 16, 2012
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Four points. That's all that separates the Stars from a playoff spot right now but with the losses slowly starting to pile up, those four points are starting to look like 14 points. Dallas gets a chance to right that ship tonight against the Calgary Flames, a team that is sitting one point out of the playoffs as of today. Somehow, Dallas has gone this entire season without playing the Flames (or the Vancover Canucks for that matter). This game and the remaining three games in this series will have a huge hand in deciding the fate of the Stars.
Dallas was on the wrong end of history in their last game, a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings and their stupid home winning streak. The first twenty minutes were all the difference in that game. Detroit came out possessed and Dallas allowed the Wings to bullly them around. That led to two goals for the Wings in the first ten minutes and a lead that Dallas couldn't overcome.
The Stars actually played pretty well the rest of the game, but they were always pressing in an attempt to make up those two goals. Dallas spent nearly the entire first six minutes of the third period in the Wings zone (offensive pressure, amazing how much that helps to prevent goals).
The message of effort has been said over and over again but it just doesn't get through to the players (the repeated terrible turnovers do not help at all either). Hoping for full out effort from start to finish in this game might be too much to ask for but that's exactly what Dallas needs tonight. The Flames aren't a pushover team and have had a good string of games lately.
Expect another Kari Lehtonen start tonight (with hopefully Bachman in the next game, don't want to tire Lehtonen out).
Brenden Morrow will miss another week or two with his neck problems. It seems Sheldon Souray's foot injury is a little bit more serious that previously thought and he might be out another game or two.
more after the jump