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Stars visit Ghosts of Shaky Trade Past

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For a game against a middling Eastern Conference opponent in a struggling hockey market, tonight's game against the Lightning sure features an interesting storyline.

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That is because this will be the first game between the two teams since their big move during the trade deadline.

It will probably be more emotionally profound for Lightning fans, as they welcome back Brad Richards, otherwise known as the Conn Smythe trophy winner during their Stanley Cup run. It's easy to forget just how amazing a playoff run Richards enjoyed since it came before the lockout and before a comically excessive contract that makes Richards a $7.8 million cap hit.

Stars fans also will have some wistful feelings watching this game. On a Lightning team so disastrous that it caused the hasty firing of Barry Melrose and a myriad of other problems, former Stars goalie Mike Smith remained a steady performer. Considering Marty Turco's notable struggles, many people wondered if giving up the oversided goaltender was the right move.

Winning the next two games in the state of Florida could give the Stars a very nice boost going into the All-Star break. With two wins, they would pull out 9 of a possible 10 points and give themselves a realistic opportunity to make the playoffs.

Of course, with this Stars team you simply never know.