Since we last met the Dallas Stars...
IN: The Stars brought in a crowd of new faces, most notably Sheldon Souray, a gifted offensive defenseman fresh out of Oiler-inflicted exile to the AHL. Rather than keep him in the lineup after some harsh words directed at their management, the Oilers sent him down; they even lent him to the Caps' farm team lest he corrupt the youth. It's safe to say that Studly Wonderbomb is about as big a fan of Edmonton as we are. Also added: Jake Dowell, Radek Dvorak, Michael Ryder, Vernon Fiddler, Eric Godard, and Adam Pardy.
Glen Gulutzan was brought from the AHL to replace Mike Crawford as head coach.
OUT: Brad Richards, Jamie "Not a curse" Langenbrunner, Jason Williams, Jeff Woywitka. Scratched: Jake Dowell, Marc Fistric
Possible Stars lineup:
Kings lineup: No changes are expected; same as vs. Phoenix.
The Stars have a packed schedule, so the Kings get Raycroft instead of the formidable Kari Lehtonen.
I'm eager to get a look at the new system the Stars are rolling out: no more Crow. Though they've been on a tear, Dallas has been allowing more than 30 shots a game, and mustering far fewer themselves. A minus 9 shot differential is not what most clubs aim for, but if you believe Gulutzan, it's all by design: five players protect the home plate, and force lower-quality shots from the periphery. They seem to specialize in jumping out to early leads, hanging on, and generating quality chances off the counter-attack.
Benn and Eriksson have been their usual badass selves, so look out for that.