January 28, 2015

Dallas' growing list of injuries now includes John Klingberg, further thinning out a defensive unit that already is missing Jordie Benn.

The Stars won't get concerned unless the issues extend into the postseason, but the injuries could affect where they end up in a tight Central Division race.

Dallas looks to avoid a fifth loss in six games Sunday night when it faces an Ottawa Senators team hoping to improve its postseason chances.

Benn and forward Patrick Sharp are expected to miss roughly another week with lower-body injuries, and forward Patrick Eaves has been out the last six games while battling pneumonia. Dallas (39-20-7) snapped a four-game skid with Friday's 4-2 win over New Jersey, but Klingberg left early with a lower-body injury and didn't practice Saturday.

Coach Lindy Ruff said Klingberg, who ranks third among defensemen with 53 points, won't travel to face Ottawa (31-28-7), although there's a chance if he progresses quicker than expected that he could join the club for Tuesday's game at Montreal.

Eaves practiced Thursday and will travel, but Ruff didn't say if he'll be in the lineup. With only six healthy defensemen, Ruff hinted that a call-up from the minors was expected before this contest.

"Nothing conclusive with the tests, which is good," Ruff said of Klingberg's injury. "So, we just go day to day with him and see where he is at."

The Stars are tied with Chicago for the Central lead and are two points ahead of St. Louis despite going 2-5-2 since falling to the Blues in overtime Feb. 16. Their wounded group looked good against the Devils, though, as Valeri Nichushkin scored and had an assist on his 21st birthday.

Vernon Fiddler scored his 100th career goal, Former Senator Jason Spezza added his 23rd of the season and Alex Goligoski and Mattias Janmark had two assists apiece.

"We haven't won too much lately, so you don't want to lose that feeling of winning," Janmark said. "It's good to break that losing streak, but we have to work on a winning streak now."

The Senators are trying to do the same. They're tied with New Jersey and Carolina for 10th in the Eastern Conference, five points back of Pittsburgh for the last wild-card spot.

Ottawa is 6-2-1 in its last nine, but it had dropped three of four prior to Saturday's 3-2 win at Toronto in Dion Phaneuf's first game there since being acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Maple Leafs on Feb. 9.

Bobby Ryan scored before Marc Methot tied it early in the third and Zack Smith tallied the winner with 2:15 remaining.

''Big points for us,'' Phaneuf said. ''We seemed to keep coming."

Mike Hoffman scored twice and Jean-Gabriel Pageau had two goals and an assist to overcome a three-point night from Jamie Benn in a 7-4 victory over the Stars in the first meeting Nov. 24, snapping a seven-game losing streak in the series.

Hoffman has scored once in his last 10, though, and coach Dave Cameron benched him for the entire third period Saturday.

''Ice time is always distributed with what I think gives us the best chance to win,'' Cameron said without elaborating on the decision.

Craig Anderson made 33 saves in the first meeting with Dallas, but he suffered a lower-body injury Monday against St. Louis and is considered day to day. Andrew Hammond has started the last two and stopped 41 shots Saturday.

Kari Lehtonen earned the win for the Stars on Friday, but Antti Niemi could be back in goal for this one.

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