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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Stars, Friday 10/16

After a homestand filled with struggles, the Bruins begin the road portion of their schedule tonight in the Lonestar State, facing off against the Dallas Stars. Boston has started the year 2-3-0 thus far, a disappointing record for a team with such high expectations. The team is hoping that this brief road trip will help right the ship and bring the team closer together. Four of the next five games for the B’s will be away from TD Garden.

Now, a handful of newsworthy notes heading into tonight’s battle in the deep south…

  • In last season’s only meeting between these two squads, Boston handed Dallas a 5-1 beatdown in every sense of the word. Exactly 146 penalty minutes, including 7 game misconducts, were levied to both teams in what was one of the most entertaining games of the entire season.
  • In Dallas’s last game, goalie Marty Turco pitched a shutout against the Nashville Predators, 6-0 Wednesday night. Dallas remains one of only two teams left in the league yet to lose a game in regulation, posting a 2-0-3 record in their first five games.
  • Looking closer at the goaltending situation for Dallas, Turco is coming off a disappointing season last year, posting career lows in both GAA and save pct. The 34-year-old Turco, now in a contract year, hopes that his hot start (1-0-3, 2.12 GAA) will continue throughout the season. Backing up Turco is former Bruin Alex Auld. Auld has seen action in just one game thus far, giving up just two goals in the win.
  • Dallas’s scoring attack is led by center Brad Richards, who has at least one point in each of the first five games (3 goals, 6 assists total). Also atop the stat sheet for the Stars, captain Brenden Morrow (4-3-7), left winger James Neal (3-4-7), and center Mike Ribiero (2-5-7).
  • On the blue line, the Stars are led by young defenseman Nicklas Grossman. The 24-year-old Grossman sits atop the NHL with an impressive plus/minus rating of +10 thus far.
  • Dallas is in a three-way tie with the Rangers and Thrashers for first in the NHL, with 4.00 goals per game on the year.
  • We should see some sparks on the power play tonight from both teams, as both Dallas and Boston rank near the bottom of the league on the penalty kill. While Boston ranks a disappointing 25th (69.2%), Dallas is even lower, at 28th (65%).
  • In terms of the walking wounded, Boston will be without defenseman Dennis Wideman the next two nights, as he did not make the trip with the team. Wideman is nursing a shoulder injury, but should be back in the lineup Wednesday when the team returns home to face Nashville. For Dallas, veteran forwards Mike Modano (ribs) and Steve Ott (oblique), along with defenseman Jere Lehtinen (abdominal) are listed as day-to-day, and are not expected in the lineup this evening.

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