Fans attending tonight's game at the American Airlines Center will be treated to a slightly more interesting (talented?) lineup tonight than on Tuesday, when the list of NHL players was a little on the small side. Tonight will feature the Stars top scoring line of a year ago and new one that has the potential to be a good third scoring option if things workout like the coaching staff hopes.
This is the first of three pre-season meetings with the Colorado Avalanche, who frequently opt to partner up with the Stars in exhibition play. The Stars were outplayed by the Lightning (prospects) in their pre-season debut on Tuesday night, losing 4-2 and getting out shot 31-19.
Tonight's (expected) lines
James Neal-Brad Richards-Loui Eriksson
Fabian Brunnstrom-Jamie Benn-Steve Ott
Jonathan Cheechoo-Aaron Gagnon-Brandon Segal
Luke Gazdic-Ondrej Roman-Colton Sceviour
Karlis Skrastins-Severin Blindenbacher
Nicklas Grossman-Stephane Robidas
Jeff Woywitka-Maxime Fortunus
With Richards, Robidas, Eriksson, Benn, Neal and Ott, tonight's power plays will resemble the real thing more-so than Tuesday nights' did. Dallas went 0-5 against the Lightning, including a 2-man advantage, but did manage to keep a clean sheet on the other end, killing all of the Tampa Bay power-plays.
Jonathan Cheechoo will be playing tonight, and Ribeiro and Morrow will not. Through one week of training camp and pre-season Cheechoo hasn't really "popped" like the Stars hoped he would. Tonight he'll get a chance to make impact next to Aaron Gagnon, who made quite an impression himself on Tuesday.
The battle for the backup job is put on hold tonight as Kari Lehtonen is expected to get his first full start of this new hockey season. Crawford has said that Lehtonen will get 3 full starts to make sure he's as ready as possible for the season opener on October 8th.
After talking to some folks out in Frisco yesterday, it's not totally inconceivable that this goaltender lineup could be the real thing when the season opens. While Krahn and Raycroft failed to distinguish themselves on Tuesday, Bachman has played very well in every practice and scrimmage of camp. With 3 of the remaining 5 pre-season games promised to Lehtonen, it will be hard to spread the minutes around to get a good look at all 3 of them, but thus far, Bachman seems to deserve a little consideration.
As far as I know, this game will not be broadcast in any form or fashion tonight.
Update: Never mind, apparently it will be on the radio here.
Your only (other) chance to catch it is to drive on down to the AAC, and follow ESPN Dallas on Twitter @andrewsdsp. (I won't be there tonight, but I'll be there tomorrow.)