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Friday update: Stars vs. Penguins

The Dallas Stars take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in a matchup of the conference leaders.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan talked about the matchup and the formula for success.

“For me personally, I am not only really excited to play this team, but to watch them," he said. "A team that has had this much success for a long time , it’s going to be a good measuring stick for us. This is one of the three games we talked about -- Washington, this one and Detroit. It’s a good way to measure yourself.”

Gulutzan continued: “We don’t want to play and east-west game. We want to play north-south. It’s a pretty simple game. We want to get pucks deep, slashing and getting pucks to the net. And we need to work back real hard to the other end.”

Brenden Morrow, who missed yesterday’s practice with an elbow injury, is fine and will play tonight.

“Brenden’s a go,” Gulutzan said. “He fell on his elbow and got some stitches. You know that is not going to hold him out.”

Mark Fistric stays in the lineup and Adam Pardy is the scratch on defense. Jake Dowell will be the scratch at forward and Krys Barch will be in the lineup.

“Barch has played with lots of energy and been physical for us,” said Gulutzan.

Steve Ott (hip pointer) will miss his fourth straight game and will be out for Saturday’s game in Detroit as well.

Kari Lehtonen starts in goal for the Stars and it will be Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.

Niskanen set to face Stars

Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen, who was along with James Neal was part of the deal that brought Alex Goligoski to Dallas, will be facing his former team for the first time Friday night.

“It’s a new experience for me. I’ve never played against a former NHL team,” Niskanen said. “I have lots of good friends over there, lots of old friends. I’m excited to play against them and play my best so we can beat them.”

Niskanen was asked if he knows how much things have changed under Gulutzan.

“From what I have heard, it’s a big change over there,” Niskanen said. “The way they are on the bench, the way they play in practice and their attitude around the rink. It’s been a dramatic change with the coaching change and the results of how they’ve been playing. It’s been a good one for that group and they are responding really well.”

Quotable: Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma on the Stars

“We’re playing a team we don’t see very much, but the team that is leading the league in points. They’ve been playing very well. Their forward lines of Ryder-Eriksson-Benn have been outstanding and deserving of the All-Star bids that they’ve gotten. Benn with his speed, shot and ability has been dominant. Their defense has been playing very well. Souray has come back and playing with a vengeance. You see how good his shot can be, but he’s also playing well defensively. Their goaltender (Lehtonen) has found his groove and playing very well. It’s a tough task tonight. The two top teams in each conference. I’m looking forward to that matchup.”