The Dallas Stars will hit the ice tonight against the Los Angeles Kings with the exact same line combinations and defensive pairings as before, with Philip Larsen a healthy scratch despite being ready to play after a shoulder injury. Coach Glen Gulutzan stated after morning skate today that the Stars wanted to keep some size on defense against the Kings, and Larsen getting back on the ice would have meant Oleksiak or Benn being a scratch.
That means that lines will be thus:
Eriksson - Benn - Jagr
Roussel - Roy - Cole
Morrow - Eakin - Smith
Nystrom - Fiddler - Garbutt
Dillon - Robidas
Benn - Daley
Oleksiak - Goligoski
Gultuzan could get tricksy during the game, however.
"We'll see how the flow of the game goes," Gulutzan said. "We have some other things in our mind and if we don't like how the matchups are going we'll change some things."
Razor mentioned this a few days ago, but the Stars seem to be cautiously eyeing next Tuesday for the possible return of winger Ray Whitney, who has been out since Feb. 2 with a stress fracture in his foot. The Stars are being careful with the injury since it needs to be absolutely and fully healed before he plays again, but it certainly seems that the game against Nashville could be the target.
"He is getting very close," Gulutzan said on Thursday. "I would say, hopefully, there is a chance on Tuesday that he can play. He is getting in some skating with this trip and going through pregame skates is pretty easy, but when you have a broken foot you can't take a chance. As good as he looks skating, if we take a chance now like we did when was he playing with it in the beginning we are going to be right back to where we were before. It's simple. You have to wait for it to heal."
The impending return of Ray Whitney complicates the situation with Brenden Morrow; it seems more and more like the captain could get traded sooner than later.
That's for another post, however.
Don't forget, game time tonight is 9:30 p.m.