Dallas Stars

Stars eager to build on season-high 3-game win streak

Stars wing Jamie Benn was mauled by a pack of angry Panthers in last season’s meeting in Dallas. The two squads play for the first time this season on Saturday at American Airlines Center.
Stars wing Jamie Benn was mauled by a pack of angry Panthers in last season’s meeting in Dallas. The two squads play for the first time this season on Saturday at American Airlines Center. AP

Panthers at Stars

7 p.m. Saturday, American Airlines Center, Dallas

TV: FSSW Radio: KTCK/1310 FM and 96.7 AM

Records: Panthers 15-14-8, 38 points; Stars 16-14-7, 39 pts.

About the Panthers: This game could be a shootout. Not as in high scoring, but in decided by penalty shots. The Panthers have a league-high eight such games, including four in their last six outings. The Stars are the only NHL team without one this season. Florida’s offense would usually run through centers Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau but leading scorer Barkov (9 goals, 18 assists) left Wednesday’s shootout loss to Toronto after being hit in the left side. He is expected to miss multiple weeks with the injury. Huberdeau is out until February after severing his Achilles’ in the preseason. That means more responsibility for Jon Marchessault (11 goals, 11 assists) and 44-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who is third on the team with 21 points. Goalie Roberto Luongo (11-9-5) has cooled since a steady start, going 2-3-4 with 28 goals allowed since Dec. 2.

About the Stars: They improved to 5-1-1 over the past seven games with a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, their season-high third victory in a row. Florida is probably jealous since they haven’t won three straight yet this season. Left wing Patrick Sharp is expected to play for the first time since Dec. 1. Sharp, who turned 35 on Tuesday, has been limited to 11 games this season, twice going on injured reserve for concussion-related injuries. Center Tyler Seguin had two goals and an assist against the Avalanche and leads the team in both categories (13, 24). Left wing Jamie Benn added three assists Thursday, the fifth time this season he’s had at least three points in a game. Goalie Kari Lehtonen left in the second period after Jarome Iginla crashed into him. Coach Lindy Ruff said Lehtonen has passed the league’s concussion protocol. Antti Niemi stopped four of five shots in relief.

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