Columbus Blue Jackets @ Dallas Stars: Tim Thomas vs Curtis McElhinney in Backup Battle

Thomas B. Shea

The Stars, at the very least, will avoid Sergei Bobrovsky tonight in a quick rematch with the BJs.

All eyes will be on Tim Thomas as he makes his first Dallas Stars start this evening against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Do you know where they won't be? On Sergei Bobrovsky. Former Flame, Duck, Coyote and Senator Curtis McElhinney will make his first start since January.

"It gives Bob a couple of days here to get some work in practice and get ready for Tuesday against Detroit," head coach Todd Richards told the Columbus Dispatch. "We have to be smart. Six games in nine days and all the travel - even after a shutout, these guys need breaks. It's the perfect time."

Bobrovsky frustrated Dallas last Tuesday night, shutting them out through two periods and stopping 31 of 33 overall en route to a win the Stars deserved, if not for his efforts.

So it's backup versus backup, so to speak, with each team on the front end of a back-to-back.

Questions of emotional hangover from the ceremony transitioning to the game were asked of the Stars Saturday, and the first period was a bit of a mess for Dallas. The Blue Jackets' media is asking if there will be further effects lingering into the proceedings here tonight.

Might they be emotionally hung over on Monday?

"You never know," Richards said. "Are they catching us at the right time? We've been all over the place in the last four or five days. We could be missing three defensemen out of our lineup. Is it the right time to play us? It's a big game for both teams. I think they're going to be on top of their game and we're going to be on top of ours." [Columbus Dispatch]

The Stars have the NHL's #1 Star playing this evening. Columbus counters with the week's second star:

On defense they've been less fortunate, of late.

Fedor Tyutin has been out, Nikita Nikitin misses a game with a head injury, though he'll be back tonight, and they lost rookie d-man Ryan Murray to a knee injury last week. That leaves them with something like this for tonight's contest:

Foligno-Johansen-Jenner
Calvert-Dubinsky-Horton
Umberger-Anisimov-Tropp
MacKenzie-Letestu-Comeau

Nikitin-Wisniewski
Johnson-Savard
Schultz-Prout

Puck drop is at 7:30pm CST on Fox Sports Southwest. And like the priest at my church who likes tell people on Easter and Christmas that we're here every week- To so many folks part of that 19,109 on Saturday... We're here 41 times a year. Don't be a stranger.

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