The last time the Bruins and Stars tangled, there were four fights and four Boston goals in the first period at TD Garden. The Bruins were on their way to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years while the Stars were en route to an offseason riddled with uncertainty.
With wishes of Auld Lang Syne filling the air, don't expect the Bruins to take their foot off the gas pedal at the American Airlines Arena.
Dallas has been one of the surprises of the season, their 41 points placing them one point out of first place in the Southwest conference, but the skidding Stars have been struggling of late, going 5-5 in their last ten games after a hot start had them near the top of the Western Conference.
Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson pace the Stars with 32 and 30 points, while friend of the Bruins Steve Ott has 18 points and leads the team with 79 penalty minutes. Former Bruin Michael Ryder has 14-11=25 totals for the Stars, who continue to get strong goaltending from Kari Lehtonen, although Lehtonen's nowhere near his league-bashing numbers from earlier in the season.
The Bruins hope to get Rich Peverley back for tonight's matchup after playing without him in the past two games while he battles an undisclosed lower-body injury.
Tuukka Rask has gotten the start in the Bruins last two games, and has allowed just one goal in his last three starts, making Claude Julien's decision on who to start a difficult one. With six games in 11 days coming out of the new year and 12 in 21 days before the all-star break, Julien will be able to use logic to determine which part of his all-star goaltending tandem he tabs, but tonight it's another tough decision. That said, expect Tim Thomas - who hasn't played since December 19th - to get the nod.