Preview: Stars at Bruins
The Dallas Stars have reversed course from their considerable troubles away from home, rebounding from dropping the opener of their six-game road trip to win a season-high three straight heading into Monday’s contest against the Boston Bruins. The Stars hope their run of good fortune continues at TD Garden, where they have won four of their last five matchups.
Dallas captain Jamie Benn pushed his club-best goal total to six after scoring in his second consecutive contest on Saturday in a 4-3 overtime win over Washington. The 29-year-old made his presence felt against Boston, registering at least one point in six of his last seven encounters – including notching two assists in a 3-2 overtime victory at TD Garden in January before scoring a goal in a 3-2 setback in March. While the Stars have yielded 13 goals en route to winning five of their last six overall, the Bruins found themselves shut out for the second time in three outings with Saturday’s 1-0 setback in Nashville. “Clearly, if our power play and top line (David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand) don’t score, we have a tough time,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet Pacific, FS Southwest (Dallas), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE STARS (8-5-0): A visit by Dallas brings about a return to Beantown for Tyler Seguin (team-leading 11 assists and 14 points), who will look to end a 10-game goal drought when he faces a franchise with which he captured a Stanley Cup in 2011 before it traded him away two years later. Coach Jim Montgomery isn’t so much worried about the 26-year-old Seguin’s history with the Bruins as he is with the forward’s play over the last few contests. “I think the last two games, he’s really increased his shot total and his chances, right?” Montgomery told reporters. “So I don’t worry about Tyler Seguin. He’s a goal-scorer. He’s a sniper and he keeps getting chances like that, it’s going to go in.”
ABOUT THE BRUINS (7-4-2): Cassidy said he’s not interested in breaking up the team’s vaunted top line as a means to ignite a spark to its ailing offense. “The problem I have with that is now you’re letting people off the hook a little bit,” Cassidy told reporters. “You have to take ownership of your own game at some point. This is the National Hockey League. … I’m not gonna put (Marchand), (Bergeron) and (Pastrnak) all on separate lines.” The top line has combined for 22 goals and 50 points this season, and Marchand and Pastrnak totaled two goals and three assists against Dallas in the last encounter – highlighted by the latter’s go-ahead tally with 12 seconds left in the win in March.
1. Boston G Jaroslav Halak has allowed three goals in his last three outings to improve his league-leading goals-against average (1.45) and save percentage (.952).
2. Stars G Ben Bishop has dropped nine of 13 career decisions (4-6-3) versus the Bruins.
3. Boston has lost four of five meetings with Western Conference representatives.