Preview: Stars at Canadiens
The Dallas Stars are in the hunt for a Central Division title after earning points in six of the last seven games (5-1-1) and look to keep it going when they visit the struggling Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. The Stars are one point behind Colorado for second and three back of division-leading St. Louis with 25 games to go after grinding out a 3-2 victory at Toronto on Thursday with another strong defensive effort.
“We should be proud of how we played tonight,” Dallas forward Andrew Cogliano told reporters after posting an assist in his 1,000th NHL game Thursday. “I think that’s the recipe if we want to do anything this season, that’s how we have to play. That’s one of the best teams in the league offensively.” The Stars would take a similar performance Saturday to the one they produced Nov. 2 when receiving 35 saves from Ben Bishop (13-4-4, .937 save percentage career versus Montreal) and two goals from emerging forward Denis Gurianov in a 4-1 victory over the Canadiens in Dallas. Montreal had battled its way back into the playoff chase by winning nine of 12 games, but has dropped the last three contests after falling 4-1 at Pittsburgh on Friday night and sits seven points behind Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division. Left wing Tomas Tatar, who leads the team in goals (21) and points (53), scored in the latest loss on the power play but the Canadiens could not rally despite registering 18 shots in the third period.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: FS Southwest, CITY, TVA, Sportsnet East
ABOUT THE STARS (33-19-5): All-Star center Tyler Seguin snapped a 17-game goal drought with his 12th of the season Thursday and leads the team with 42 points - five coming in the last six contests. “It felt good. I didn’t know when it was going to happen, but I stuck with it,” Seguin told reporters. “I was at the point where I figured it was going to be something where it was off my head or off my butt, but I’m happy one went in.” Captain Jamie Benn was kept off the scoresheet Thursday, but had four goals in the previous two games to pull within one of 300 for his career, while Gurianov boasts six of his 17 markers this season in the past nine contests.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (27-26-7): Rookie forward Nick Suzuki continues to shine as the 20-year-old recorded an assist Friday for his 10th point in 10 games and 37th of the season - tied for third-most on the team. Center Max Domi was kept off the scoresheet for the fifth straight outing Friday and has scored once since posting a goal in six consecutive contests to end December while left wing Jonathan Drouin has yet to register a point in four contests since returning from a fractured wrist. Former Hart Trophy winner Carey Price (24-21-4) allowed a total of nine goals in losing the last three games after giving up seven in the previous five.
1. Stars veteran F Joe Pavelski (upper body) has missed the last two games and is questionable for Saturday.
2. Montreal LW Ilya Kovalchuk was held without a point Friday, but had a game-high eight shots on net.
3. Dallas LW Jason Robertson had an assist in 12 minutes, 18 seconds of ice time during his NHL debut Thursday.
PREDICTION: Stars 3, Canadiens 2