Road trip concludes in Dallas
DEVILS (4-3-1) at STARS (7-3-0)
WFAN 660 AM
First of two meetings, with Dallas playing in New Jersey on Dec. 16. Each team won in its opponent's building last season, with the Stars pulling out a 4-3 victory in the 2010-11 season opener on an overtime goal by Loui Eriksson and the Devils prevailing 1-0 in the most recent matchup on a Nick Palmieri
power-play goal and a shutout performance by Johan Hedberg
Dallas lost for the first time in five home games under first-year coach Glen Gulutzan on Thursday, but the Stars still lead the Western Conference with a 7-3-0 record and 14 points, a fast start for a team that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs each of the past three seasons.
Defensive breakdowns cost New Jersey dearly on Thursday in a 5-3 loss to Phoenix. The Devils allowed the Coyotes to pepper Hedberg with 42 shots, and as a result couldn't hang on to a 2-1 lead built early in the second period on a Mark Fayne
goal. Ray Whitney started and capped an outburst of four straight goals by the home team. The Devils, who also got goals from Palmieri and Zach Parise
, finish a four-game road trip Saturday looking for a split.
"In the second period we jumped on them a little, but we have to continue that for a whole game," defenseman Andy Greene
said. "That wasn't our best effort, obviously."
Even in a 5-3 defeat on Thursday, there was enough to like from the effort Dallas put forth against Los Angeles. Trevor Daley's power-play goal that opened the scoring in the first period also ended the shutout streak of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, whose 202 minutes and 11 seconds of consecutive scoreless hockey included a blanking of the Stars five days earlier. Then, after the visitors erupted for a three-goal second, Michael Ryder and Eric Nystrom answered in the third as the Stars tied it before eventually falling.
"I thought that we played a pretty good game," Gulutzan said. "I'm OK with our effort right now. We battled back, showed some character but at the end, another seeing-eye single that goes through and found its way to the back of the net."
The Devils aren't known for getting a lot of offense from their blue line, but Fayne already has 2 goals and 4 points this season. … Jamie Benn has 1 goal and 6 assists over the last six games for the Stars to take over their team lead in scoring with 9 points.
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur
(shoulder) is nearing a return but wasn't expected to play on the road trip. Forward Eric Boulton
is day-to-day with a sore right hand. Forwards Travis Zajac
(Achilles) and Jacob Josefson
(broken clavicle) are on injured reserve.
Rookie forward Adam Henrique
, recalled by the Devils after Josefson was lost for 3-4 months, picked up his first NHL point against the Coyotes with an assist on Palmieri's goal. He had season highs with four shots and 16:56 of ice time. … Brenden Morrow and Stephane Robidas each blocked four shots as the Stars held a 25-11 edge over the Kings in that category.
Dallas general manager Joe Nieuwendyk, who as a player won one of his three Stanley Cups with the Stars in 1999, will be honored with a ceremony prior to the game. It's fitting New Jersey is the opponent, as Nieuwendyk was also a member of its 2003 championship team. He will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 14 along with ex-Dallas goalie Ed Belfour, ex-Devils forward Doug Gilmour and defenseman Mark Howe.