NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 27th
(All times Eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (26-23-9) at Dallas Stars (27-21-10), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Jamie Benn has been one of the leaders for the Dallas
Stars this season and he kept that mentality going on the ice during the Sochi
Benn has a gold medal to show for his efforts and now looks to get the Stars
into the playoffs, a push that begins on Thursday night versus the Carolina
The captain of the Stars is second on the club with 22 goals, 29 assists and
51 points, behind only Tyler Seguin (24 goals, 32 assists) in all three
categories. Benn also got to show his stuff for Team Canada and scored a pair
of game-winning goals in the tournament, including the lone tally against the
U.S. in a 1-0 win during the semifinals.
Benn should have plenty of mojo as the Stars open up their post-Olympic
schedule one point behind Vancouver for the second wild card spot in the
"I came back (from the Olympics) with confidence. I want to definitely keep it
rolling the last 24 games here with the Stars and be the leader here. I want
to be the go-to guy and hopefully lead our team into the playoffs," noted
Dallas is certainly trending in the right direction, having gone 3-0-1 in its
last four games before the break and 6-1-2 in its past nine overall.
The Stars will play three straight and six of their next seven at home and are
likely to give the start tonight in net to Kari Lehtonen, who won a bronze
medal with Team Finland in Sochi. Lehtonen is 6-11-1 with a 3.39 goals against
average in his career versus Carolina.
The Hurricanes will play their second game following the Olympic hiatus as
they visited the Buffalo Sabres in the lone game on the schedule Tuesday. The
two clubs returned to action early to make up a postponed game from Jan. 7.
Carolina got goals from Eric Staal and Alexander Semin, but Buffalo's
Christian Ehrhoff scored with 43.4 seconds left in regulation to hand the
Hurricanes a 3-2 loss.
Cam Ward gave up all three goals on 18 shots in his first NHL action since
Dec. 31 as Carolina opened a five-game road trip with its fourth loss in six
"This is a tough pill to swallow right now, for everybody," said Staal. "We
definitely had the better chances throughout the game, but they capitalized on
Ward was returning to action from a lower-body injury and it is unknown if he
will start again tonight or if the streaking Anton Khudobin will get the call.
Khudobin went 10-4-0 with a 2.19 GAA in 14 games in January and has logged a
2.01 GAA in three games this month.
Khudobin has never faced the Stars, while Ward is 2-3-1 with a 3.48 GAA
The Hurricanes, who are five points back of third place in the Metropolitan
Division, are playing the Stars for the first time since a 5-2 home loss on
Nov. 6, 2011.
Dallas has won three straight and eight of the last 10 meetings overall, going
9-0-0 with a tie in the past 10 encounters at home.
The Stars have not lost as the hosting club in this series since a setback to
the Hartford Whalers on Feb. 11, 1996.
02/27 10:45:42 ET