Stars vs. Hurricanes Preview
The Stars and Hurricanes may be in for another tight contest as they face each other at RBC Center on Monday night.
Dallas (13-8-1) is 5-1-1 in its last seven games, with all of the victories coming by one goal. That slight advantage has been key to the Stars splitting 10 road games, as four of the victories have been decided by one-goal margins.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Hurricanes –120 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Stars. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 58% of more than 494 bets for this game have been placed on the Stars +111.
That trend continued with a 2-1 win at St. Louis on Saturday to complete a home-and-home sweep after Friday's 3-2 victory.
Trends say Dallas is 35-48 when facing a team with a losing record over the past three seasons.
"You don't want to have to do that all the time, and certainly we don't want to make a habit of it. But it's nice to know that you can," coach Marc Crawford said of the Stars' success in close games.
While the Stars are thriving in the tight contests, Carolina (10-10-2) has dropped four of five (1-1-3) by one goal. However, three of the defeats have come via the shootout with Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen, Patrick O'Sullivan and Tuomo Ruutu combining to convert just one of eight attempts.
Another game reaching the tiebreaker could mean changes after Carolina missed all three shootout chances Sunday and fell 3-2 at Washington.
"That's the question that we have to answer," coach Paul Maurice said. "Do we just keep running these guys until they get back to form, because they have been very good at it, or do you have start auditioning other people?"
While Maurice tries to solve the Hurricanes' issues in the shootout, Cam Ward is providing strong performances in net. He'll likely start a third consecutive game after making 38 saves through overtime Sunday before getting beat on one of two shootout attempts. That effort came a night after he stopped 37 shots in a 3-0 win at Boston for his first shutout of the season.
Ward has won both home games against Dallas despite a 3.50 goals-against average.
Similar to Carolina, Dallas is benefiting from strong goaltending. Kari Lehtonen is 4-1-1 with a 2.30 GAA in his last six games after winning the last two over the Blues by stopping 60 of 63 shots.
Lehtonen has started all but four games for the Stars, showing strong durability after recovery from back surgery limited him to 12 games last season - his first with Dallas.
"Last year, we got a taste of his potential, and this year he's just been tremendous," defenseman Matt Niskanen told the team's official website. "You don't have to worry when you have a goalie that is playing really solid behind you. The whole team has confidence in him, and he's given the whole team confidence to do what we need to do with the puck."
Lehtonen, though, went 1-5-1 with a 3.56 GAA in seven games at Carolina while with Atlanta.
The Stars and Hurricanes split two meetings last season, with Ruutu's hat trick providing the difference in Carolina's 5-3 win at RBC Center on Dec. 16.Twitter and Facebook or Subscribe to Our News Feeds!