Preseason game number five arrives today for the Dallas Stars and the roster is dwindling with young players being sent back to juniors or the American League, and a growing number of NHL regulars being taken off possible game rosters for precautionary reasons.
That's the story out of Frisco yesterday as Jamie Benn and Adam Burish join Brenden Morrow on a list of guys that won't see much action any time soon as the Stars try to be as careful as humanly possible with these guys so that the roster will be complete on opening night. Benn and Burish are both nursing sore groins, while Morrow is said to be chomping at the bit to return soon. Stephane Robidas was on that same health plan for a while before playing against St. Louis on Saturday night. No adverse effects were reported and he should be good to do.
The Panthers are 1-3-0 in the presesaon but have trimmed their roster just 28 players (whereas the Stars still have 39 technically on theirs), so they figure to have a very NHL regular heavy lineup when they take the ice in front of their home fans tonight, and as everyone knows, that team underwent an extensive transformation this off-season, adding a lot of payroll dollars to meet the new cap floor.
Kari Lehtonen said, after another good performance on Saturday, that his next challenge was to play a full 60 minutes. The Morning News reports that it could be a good 120 minutes as he's now expected to play tonight's game and Thursday's in preparation for the season, presumably leaving Andrew Raycroft with the last start in St. Louis on Saturday.
The Stars told us the roster, but not the lines so we'll play mix and match after the jump...
The roster provided by the Stars for this game looks like this:
We haven't seen much of Trevor Daley or Nick Grossman this preseason, but I'll only wonder about it idly at this point. On defense you have Brenden Dillon yet again, which we like, but this being the fifth preseason game were beginning to look for NHL pairings to form, and we can't help but wondering if Robidas will see time with Goligoski and if Pardy and Souray will form a duo. Jordie Benn has performed well in the preseason and Dillon we know about, last paired with Robidas. It will be interesting to see which way Glen Gulutzan takes it.
On offense there are many more familiar faces than the mostly AHL lineup that played in Colorado on Sunday. Adam Burish is listed here but is one of the players with the tweaked groin, so it seems doubtful that he's play. The Ribeiro/Ryder combo should get it's third look tonight, without Morrow, and Matt Fraser could be in luck yet again because of it.
I'll draw them up like this as a complete guess and then you can tell me how wrong I am...
Scratches: Godard, Wandell, Burish.
I like Sceviour, I think he's earned more playing time before he gets shuffled off, and with Morrow, Benn and Burish out of commission it's a good time to play guys like that. However it plays out it's a more offensively capable lineup than the last one. Keep an eye on ESPN Dallas and the DMN for the actual lines.
The Panthers have allowed 19 goals in four games (4.75 GA/G) and have pared down their roster pretty quickly now for their last few preseason games, so a better effort from them might be in store.
They're expected to roll with Jose Theodore as their number one in net. Their number two in net, Scott Clemmensen, was placed on injured reserve and is expected to miss the first two months of the season after undergoing a procedure on his knee. That means the backup netminder position is up for grabs and the Stars might see part of that competition tonight in the forms of either Jacob Markstrom or Tyler Plante.
We'll be hoping that stream works out and conducting gameday thread activities here tonight, so please do drop by and help us celebrate more preseason hockey.
Just 10 days now to the real thing...