|NHL Preview: Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars|
|Friday, 12 October 2007 02:41|
The Dallas Stars weren't much of an offensive threat last season, but so far, they've been one of the NHL's top-scoring teams in 2007-08.
With returning leading scorer Mike Ribeiro back on the ice, the Stars look to stay hot on offense as they host the winless Calgary Flames on Friday night at American Airlines Center.
The Stars (2-2-0) averaged just 2.65 goals per game last season to tie Vancouver for 21st in the league, and didn't acquire a prolific goal-scorer in the offseason. However, Dallas has scored 13 goals through its first four games and is coming off a 5-1 win over Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Ribeiro, who had 18 goals and a team-high 59 points last season, had a goal and an assist in his first game after missing the preseason and start of October with an ankle injury. Ribeiro has recorded at least 51 points in each of his last three seasons.
"I had maybe one or two tweaks during the game, but I feel good," Ribeiro told the Stars' official Web site. "A few mental mistakes there, a few turnovers, but other than that, I felt good physically, mentally."
Niklas Hagman, a defensive specialist during his first five NHL seasons, scored two goals - one short-handed - against Los Angeles and leads the team with four so far.
He tallied a career-best 17 goals last season, but Dallas is hoping to get more production from him by placing him on a scoring line centered by Ribeiro.
"I have to concentrate on scoring a little more when I get a chance to play on a scoring line," Hagman said. "Every game now I'm going to get a couple of good chances. I've got to be ready to bury them."
The Stars have won their two home games this season by a combined score of 9-2. They are 17-3-2 in their last 22 games in Dallas.
The Stars also have seven wins and one tie in their last eight home games against the Flames (0-2-1), who have not won in Dallas since Dec. 14, 2001.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Dallas -145 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 total goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas -145 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Dallas forward Jere Lehtinen had four goals in his team's four meetings with the Flames last season.
The Flames, meanwhile, are still looking for their first win under new head coach Mike Keenan. Calgary opened a four-game road trip on Wednesday, falling 4-2 in Detroit. Kristian Huselius scored both goals for the Flames.
"I think there's a lot more in that dressing room than we're seeing," Keenan said. "I hope so anyway."
Daymond Langkow failed to record a point against the Red Wings after picking up two goals in each of the Flames' first two games. Detroit scored twice on the power play, and Calgary has killed off just 11 of its opponents' 18 chances with the man advantage.
Langkow failed to score any of his career-high 33 goals last season against the Stars.
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff gave up four goals for the second straight game and has allowed 11 this season for a 3.59 goals-against average.
Kiprusoff had a 2.46 GAA last season to go along with 40 wins and seven shutouts. He's 0-6-0 with a 3.19 GAA in his career at Dallas.
by: staff writers Email Us
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