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Morning Skate: Stars Jake Oettinger Returns to Boston for First Time to Face Bruins

It will be a first-time reunion for former Boston University goaltender Jake Oettinger as the Stars take on the Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday night.

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On Tuesday night, the Dallas Stars will take on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden for the first time this season. 

Just over four miles down Commonwealth Ave stands Walter Brown Arena and the campus of Boston University. From 2016-2019, that ice is where Jake Oettinger shined. And tonight marks his first visit back to the area as an NHL goaltender. 

As a member of the Boston Terriers, Oettinger started three seasons, recording an overall record of 58-40-11 and an average save percentage of .922%. His team claimed a conference championship in 2017-18 and reached the Regional Final of the National Tournament in two of three seasons. 

Now, the 23-year-old is the unchallenged starting goalie for the Dallas Stars and has been tossed into the mix for the best goalie in the entire NHL early this season. 

It was unknown whether we would see the return to Boston for Oettinger, as the Stars headed out on a four-game road trip, finishing with three games in four nights. But with Pete DeBoer’s decision to start Scott Wedgewood in Toronto on Thursday and Ottawa on Monday, it sets the stage for Oettinger to come back to a place that means so much to him and show his old city what he can do. 

“I’ve always believed that stuff’s important,” DeBoer said about players returning to important cities. “When you sit around and talk to players, it’s important to them, coming back. They’re not going to complain if it doesn’t happen, but I think it’s important to them. I believe that.”

Dallas is coming off their first regulation loss of the season, a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. The team looked to run out of gas as the Sens continued to push, eventually putting the game out of reach. 

Now in the final game of this trip, it is vital for the Stars to have short-term memory, wipe the slate clean, and come out with the pace and commitment that we have seen in the other five games of the season. It will be easier said than done. 

“I don’t think it was one thing. We didn’t execute,” DeBoer said about his team’s loss in Ottawa Monday. “The good news is, we have a chance tomorrow to go and have a really good road trip. This is a tough trip to go on and we have a chance to go into Boston and win and have a good trip.” 

Stars Projected Lines

  • Robertson-Hintz-Pavelski
  • Marchment-Seguin-Gurianov
  • Benn-Johnston-Dellandrea
  • Faksa-Glendening-Kiviranta
  • Heiskanen-Miller
  • Suter-Hakanpää
  • Lindell-Lundkvist
  • Oettinger
  • Wedgewood

Bruins Scouting Report

The Bruins are a very good hockey team. Even without Brad Marchand and while dealing with other injuries, Boston leads the league in points and has scored the second-most goals in the NHL this season (27). 

Unsurprisingly, the Boston forwards have been dynamic. Led by David Pastrnak, they have three forwards (Krejci and Bergeron) that have accounted for more than six points in the first six games. They have skill, depth, and are led by former Stars bench boss Jim Montgomery, who should have a bit of a chip on his shoulder against his old club. 

The B’s should have some added motivation after they nailed the best costume of the year, dressing in full Super Mario gear to visit a local children’s hospital during an annual event. 

"It's just a special day to be able to go and share a moment with the kids, kids that are going through a lot, families that are going through a lot, to be able to be there and just brighten up their day as much as we can, brighten up a smile or two," said Patrice Bergeron.

Tidbit: The Bruins will be hosting ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ night when the Stars come to town on Tuesday night. 

Sam’s Three Keys

  • Slow down the Bruins’ top line 
  • Find a way to keep the pace after the first 10-15 minutes
  • Fewer than three penalties (have you heard that one before?)
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