Stars aim for better defensive effort vs. Canadiens

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Stars rank among the top 10 in scoring and have the league's leading goal scorer on their roster, but a lack of defense has led to some struggles.

The Stars look to avoid a fifth straight loss on Saturday night as they play host to the Montreal Canadiens.

Dallas has given up 20 goals in its last four games and 39 over the past nine. The Stars are averaging 2.85 goals per game, but rank last in the NHL with 3.58 allowed per game.

The Stars again struggled to keep the puck out of their net on Thursday in a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Tyler Seguin netted his league-leading 19th goal and Colton Sceviour also scored as Dallas capped a winless three-game trip.

After goaltender Anders Lindback was assigned to the minors, Jussi Rynnas was recalled from the American Hockey League and played in his first NHL game since Feb. 19, 2013. However, he allowed five goals on 29 shots.

"We're not going to win with five goals (against) a night. No team is," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Kari Lehtonen figures to get the start in net for this game and is 7-6-1 with a 2.61 goals against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts in his career versus the Canadiens.

Montreal won both of its meetings with Dallas last season, including a 6-4 road victory in January. The Habs hope for similar offensive production tonight after losing a 4-3 decision in Chicago on Friday night.

Goals from Brendan Gallagher, Sergei Gonchar and P.K. Subban helped the Habs rally from two goals down, but the Blackhawks scored twice in the third period, including the winner with 27 seconds to play.

Carey Price allowed all four goals on 36 shots as the Canadiens lost for the fifth time in six games.

"Going into the third with a lead against this team in this building obviously says a lot, but there's a reason why they're one of the best in the league every year," Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said.

Montreal will try to avoid concluding its four-game road trip with a third straight loss and also saw center Lars Eller exit last night's game with an upper-body injury.

Dustin Tokarski may start tonight for Montreal in net. He has never faced Dallas and is 3-2-1 with a 2.44 GAA and .914 save percentage in seven games (6 starts) this season.

The 40-year-old Gonchar began the season with the Stars before getting dealt to the Canadiens on Nov. 11 for forward Travis Moen. He has a goal and two assists in 12 games since the deal, while Moen has yet to pick up a point in nine games with Dallas.