Pens hope to get back on track in Dallas

( - The struggling Pittsburgh Penguins look to get their offense going and avoid a fourth straight setback on Thursday evening when they visit the Dallas Stars.

The Penguins have been held to one goal or fewer in six of their past eight games and were shut out for the second time in three contests with Tuesday's 2-0 setback to the New Jersey Devils.

Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss made 17 saves for the Penguins, who lost for the fourth time in five games as Devils goaltender Cory Schneider stopped all 35 Pittsburgh shots he faced.

"First and third period we generated some really good chances and Schneider made some good saves," said Penguins forward Sidney Crosby.

The Penguins were playing without forward Evgeni Malkin for a second straight contest due to injury, while Patric Hornqvist also sat out with an injury. Neither player is expected to return for this three-game road trip that ends on Saturday in Arizona.

Pittsburgh, though, now sits only two points ahead of the fourth-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division and is two back of the idle New York Islanders. The Pens have two games in hand over the Isles and have played one fewer game than the Caps, who are at Minnesota tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury is likely to return to the net tonight after giving up four goals on 16 shots faced while getting pulled early in a 5-1 loss to Detroit on Sunday. He is 6-2-0 in eight games versus the Stars with a 2.21 goals against average and .917 save percentage.

The Stars aim to rebound from a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the opener of a four-game homestand on Sunday. Dallas is just 2-5-3 in its last 10 games at home and eight points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with 12 games to go.

Jake Allen made 28 saves for the Blues on Sunday, while Kari Lehtonen was perfect through two periods with 12 saves before allowing two goals on eight shots in the third frame.

"We played a good game," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "We played the game we should have played, just missed on some plays."

Dallas had a three-game winning streak snapped but is set to have defenseman John Klingberg back in the lineup for the first time in four games as he has been out with an upper-body injury. The rookie has notched 10 goals and 26 assists in 53 games this season.

Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski missed Wednesday's practice due to illness, but is not expected to miss this game.

Lehtonen is 9-5-3 with a 2.71 GAA and .912 save percentage in his career versus the Penguins. He made 27 saves in a 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Oct. 16 in the first meeting of the season between these clubs.

However, that was only Dallas' third victory in its last 11 against Pittsburgh overall, with Tyler Seguin scoring the winner on the power play with 2.9 seconds on the clock in regulation.

Crosby had a goal, but also took a tripping penalty to give the Stars their game-winning power play. Fleury notched 25 saves on 28 shots faced.