SB Nation Rival Blog: Defending Big D
Hurricanes Record: 33-32-11 | 77 pts | 7th Metro | 13th EC
Stars Record: 37-27-11 | 85 pts | 5th Central | 8th WC
Games Remaining: 6
Estimated Points Needed: 92
Points Back: 15 (unpossible)
Playoff Chances (Sports Club Stats): 0.6%
Tragic Number: 7
The Hurricanes haven't defeated the Dallas Stars since December 16, 2009. They had a chance on February 27th in Dallas for all of about three minutes before the Stars put on a show, and two shorthanded goals and a three-point night from Jamie Benn sealed a 4-1 win that was really never a contest.
The Stars are in a tight battle with Phoenix for the last Western Conference wild card spot, having pulled themselves into eighth place with three straight wins and a 5-1-0 record in their last six games. They shut out the Capitals 5-0 in Washington on Tuesday night before heading to Raleigh.
The Stars are getting contributions throughout their lineup [Stars.com]. In their last six games they have scored 23 goals from twelve different players. Tyler Seguin (33g, 44a) and Jamie Benn (30g, 41a) lead the team in scoring with 77 and 71 points respectively, but Ryan Garbutt has four goals in his last four games, and Cody Eakin and Colton Sceviour both have three goals.
Kari Lehtonen will likely get the start in net tonight. Lehtonen has allowed 10 goals in his last six starts and is 30-18-10 for the season with four shutouts and a .919 save percentage. Tim Thomas now backs up Lehtonen in Dallas and faced the Canes twice earlier this season with the Panthers, both losing efforts.
A few of the Stars players were apparently enjoying the spring weather playing touch football outside Raleigh Center Ice yesterday as part of an optional practice [Defending Big D]. Former Hurricane Erik Cole skated (and spoke with the N&O), but remains day-to-day with an upper body injury and will be a game-day decision. Aaron Rome (undisclosed) remains day-to-day as well, and Rich Peverley is out for the season with what is officially reported as an irregular heartbeat.
For a terrific perspective on the Stars' philosophy as prescribed by head coach Lindy Ruff, read all about how "Everybody Ropes, Everybody Rides" [Stars.com].
The Hurricanes return home after a big 4-1 victory against the Penguins Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Youth was served as the line of Riley Nash, Jeff Skinner, and Elias Lindholm carried the tempo. Lindholm scored two goals and Skinner had two assists. Skinner now has points in six straight games, including four goals. Andrei Loktionov also registered two assists in Tuesday's game, and has six points in his last five games.
Anton Khudobin is likely in net though not confirmed. His .930 save percentage is good for third best in the NHL.
The team didn't practice yesterday, and the status of Alexander Semin (illness) and Jiri Tlusty (upper body) won't be known, along with any other potential lineup changes, until the morning skate, scheduled for 10:30 am.
It's time for more Tweetmail, and hey, this batch even features a question from yours truly [ch.com].
The Hurricanes are hosting their third annual Alumni Fantasy Game on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm. Admission is free with donations supporting the Kids 'n Community Foundation. It's an outstanding and entertaining event in all aspects.
Fan Appreciation Week begins with many upcoming events in the arena to recognize the fans in the building. Tonight, be one of the first 10,000 in the arena to pick up your Justin Faulk bobblehead. You know you want one.
We'll have the game thread ready to roll by 6:30 pm. See you there.