Less than 24 hours after "The House is Rockin" played at the American Airlines Center to celebrate a Dallas Stars win over Chicago the two teams will drop the puck and go at it again 900 miles away at the United Center. The Stars narrowly scraped by a very good Chicago team last night. To do it on consecutive nights would be, as Razor always says, "larcenous."
Kari Lehtonen, the biggest reason the Stars won Glen Gulutzan's NHL debut, will not be in net for the rematch, however. Andrew Raycroft will get the start according to Dallas Stars PR. Last year Kari Lehtonen started back to back games to begin the season, winning both, but the Stars had the luxury of a four day break following that trip. No such luxury exists this year with Phoenix coming in on Monday night to make "three in four" as they say.
It's been said all along that the plan is to start Kari Lehtonen in fewer games this season (69 games played in 2010-2011) and Gulutzan has proven true to his word with this decision. With Chicago playing in front of the always raucous 21,000+ at the UC and the adrenaline of their home opener, Raycroft will face a stout, stout test tonight for sure.
The other bit of news for Dallas is that Adam Burish is expected to return to the lineup after a groin injury sidelined him for the last week of preseason. The question is: Where do you put him?
Continued after the jump...
Glen Gulutzan and Joe Nieuwendyk have alluded that when Adam Burish (or anyone) returns to the Stars' lineup they'll have to earn their spot. There won't be positions waiting for them that aren't up for discussion. Healthy competition is the name of the game and it makes you wonder where Burish will slot tonight, and who sits.
The Morrow/Ribeiro/Ryder combination feels safe but everything else is up for grabs. I really liked how the Petersen/Wandell/Dowell line played last night and would hate to see it broken up. It almost makes you wonder if Tomas Vincour could sit, Ott could move up to the Benn line in his stead, and Burish could enter on the Fiddler/Dvorak line.
That line was used heavily last night (they easily led in even strength minutes played) because Gulutzan chose to match them up with the Toews/Sharp line. He may not want to break that trio up so quickly, though the matchups will not be as favorable tonight with Chicago getting last change as the home team.
That chess match will be interesting to watch tonight, and Josh's scoring chance post showed us that the Ribeiro/Ryder/Morrow line was hemorrhaging opportunities. That trio will need to be much, much better tonight as they'll see much less favorable matchups.
Where do you think Burish will end up? There are plenty of arguments for and against multiple placements.
As of this moment it's not been reported who will start in goal for Chicago, but with four days off following this contest it's probably pretty safe to say that young Corey Crawford will go again.
They'll also make a minor adjustment to their forward group on the lower lines. Via ESPN Chicago...
Kruger appeared in seven regular-season games and five postseason games with the Hawks last season. Pirri had an assist in the Hawks' season-opening loss to the Stars on Friday.
The Blackhawks will open their home schedule on Saturday night at the United Center.