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Preview: Bruins host Stars for 5th consecutive Western Conference showdown

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The Boston Bruins look to get back on track as they face-off against the Dallas Stars tonight

NHL: Boston Bruins at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7:30 PM

Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

How to follow: NBSCN, SN360, SNE, SNO, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Defending Big D

Know your enemy

  • 37-20-6, 80 points, 2nd in Central Division
  • Goals: Jamie Benn, 18
  • Assists: Tyler Seguin, 32
  • Points: Seguin, 48
  • Goalies: Ben Bishop, 21-13-4, 2.45 GAA, .922 save percentage

Anton Khudobin, 16-7-2, 2.21 GAA, .931 save percentage

Game notes

  • The Bruins last played the Stars on Oct. 3, the first game of the season, and beat them 2-1. Brett Ritchie and Danton Heinen scored...they won’t be able to do that again seeing as Heinen was just traded and Ritchie is in Providence...Tuukka Rask was in net and made 28 saves. Roope Hintz scored for the Stars while Bishop stopped 18 shots.
  • The Bruins still sit at the top of the Atlantic Division, five points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and have played one game more than the Bolts. With 18 games left in the regular season, these points are going to determine playoff positioning. Stacking up points and keeping the Lightning at bay (HA!) will hopefully mean not having to see them until the second round.
  • The Stars have won 7 of their last 9 games, with points in 8 of them. Khudobin has started the last two games for the Stars, winning both. They are also a playoff contender, with a few points separating them, the Blues and Avalanche from the top spot in the Central Division.
  • We got our first preview of Nick Ritchie and he bounced around a little between David Krejci’s and Charlie Coyle’s lines on Tuesday. He delivered 7 hits last game. It’s going to take a few games to completely see his worth and mesh with the team, but for now he’s bringing his physical game and playing the body.
  • Brad Marchand is on a seven-game point streak with two goals and eight assists. He leads the team and his line with the most assists so far this season at 54.
  • Has the fourth line figured out they can be relevant during the game? Chris Wagner is on a two-game goal streak which is amazing seeing as he went 18 games without a point. This line had chemistry against the Flames, with Par Lindholm centering. Could he have been the missing link for Wagner and Kuraly to generate more offense? We’ll see how lines shake out later from today’s pre-game skate and if Head Coach Bruce Cassidy keeps this line as is.
  • Ondrej Kase has been skating with the team after missing several games due to flu-like symptoms back in Anaheim. He hasn’t played since Feb. 7, but could be ready to go tonight. Again, a lines update from practice will paint a better picture.