Dallas Stars vs. Calgary Flames Preview (October 27)

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After a very similar start to the 2017/18 NHL season, both the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames look to be competing for a Western Conference wild-card spot – at least for the time being – but are both in the running to win the conference at 13/2 and 13/1, respectively? Coming into their Friday, October 27 matchup at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames had to face a gritty St. Louis Blues team on Wednesday and the Stars had to compete with the Edmonton Oilers just the night before.

The major loss for the Calgary Flames coming into this game is late acquisition and legend of the game Jaromir Jagr. The 45-year-old suffered a lower-body injury last weekend, but his move to the injured reserve has allowed Calgary to reshuffle their lines.

Now the hotly anticipated rookie Mark Jankowski can come into the lines and relieve Sam Bennett of his centreman duties – with which the former fourth-overall pick has been struggling. With five goals and eight points for the Stockton Heat in the AHL, Jankowski comes in to pivot the third line in red-hot form.

Bar any late injuries incurred during the matchup in Edmonton; the Dallas Stars look to come into this game fully healthy, with the only change likely being in net due to the back-to-back fixtures. Ben Bishop has given the Stars an element of assurance that they lacked during the Niemi-Lehtonen tandem years, but his understudy, Kari Lehtonen, is yet to prove himself as a decent backup.

Through three games – one start – Lehtonen has been dealt three losses, holding a 4.00 goals against average and 0.851 save percentage. The Stars will likely see the game in Edmonton as a better chance to secure two points than their battle in Calgary the next day due to the Oilers’ very poor start to the season, so Lehtonen will most likely start against the Flames.

When it comes to skaters, the Dallas top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov is a very imposing one, with their powerplay even more menacing. However, the offensive might drops off of a cliff edge as you look down the lines. Against the Flames, who boast very balanced defensive lines, the Stars will either need to shuffle some production down the lines to keep the Calgary lines honest throughout the competition or put all of their eggs in one basket, leaving the lines as they are.

The Flames are much more balanced with their lines, despite featuring both Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan on the top line. The second set has proven to be goal-savvy, the third line is incredibly youthful and exciting, and the fourth line boasts superb veterans in Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer, and Matt Stajan. The forward lines and blue line playmakers look to be too much for a tired Stars defense sitting in front of Lehtonen.

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