Stars continue trek against Hurricanes

( – The Dallas Stars aim to resume a five-game road trip
with a second straight victory on Thursday night as they visit the Carolina

The Stars have won three of their past four games after losing six straight,
including a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Brett Ritchie
and Vernon Fiddler had the goals, the latter picking up the game-winner with
6:10 left in regulation.

Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for Dallas, beating Philadelphia for the first
time in 14 career meetings.

“He made the saves when he needed to,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “A couple
situations when we had break downs, I thought he read the plays right and was
right there. The goal that beat him went off our guy so it was a really clean
night for him.”

The Stars are eight points out of a wild card spot in the Western Conference
and play the fourth game of their road trip tonight. They conclude the swing
on Friday at Washington.

Lehtonen is 7-12-1 with a 3.44 goals against average and .893 save percentage
in 21 lifetime encounters with the Hurricanes, while Jhonas Enroth is 3-3-0 in
this matchup with a 2.95 GAA and .908 save percentage over six games.

Defensemen John Klingberg and Jason Demers are both game-time decisions
tonight for the Stars. Demers did not play on Tuesday due to illness, while
Klingberg suffered an upper-body injury during the contest.

Forward Cody Eakin’s status for this game is unknown as well after he was held
out of the win over the Flyers due to a team discipline issue.

The Hurricanes are coming off Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue
Jackets, who got the lone goal of the tiebreaker from Ryan Johansen.

Johansen, Columbus’ third shooter, slowly skated in, patiently waited for Cam
Ward to move first and slid the puck past the netminder’s pad to put the Blue
Jackets ahead. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped Jeff Skinner’s attempt to seal the

Defenseman Justin Faulk provided a goal and two assists — all in the first
period — and Eric Staal and Victor Rask each scored for the Hurricanes, who
received 29 stops from Ward while falling to 1-1-1 on a five-game homestand.

Carolina scored a pair of power-play goals, but also allowed three to the

“They built a game on the road, competed harder and took advantage of their
power plays,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said.

Peters’ club will conclude its homestand on Saturday versus Florida, with Ward
likely to get the start tonight. He is 3-3-1 in his career versus Dallas,
posting a 3.57 GAA and .876 save percentage in seven games.

The Hurricanes have beaten the Stars just four times in the previous 13
meetings, but did pick up a second straight victory in this series with a 6-4
road decision on Nov. 18. Staal had two goals and an assist, while Tyler
Seguin scored twice for the Stars and Klingberg had a pair of helpers.

Carolina has won seven of its past 10 at home versus Dallas.