The Dallas Stars' last preseason game on Tuesday night against these same Florida Panthers featured a combined 79 penalty minutes, an Alex Goligoski fight, a Stars five minute major for boarding, a Brenden Dillon fight, a lengthy Panther 5-on-3, and 23 shots on the power play for Florida to go along with out-shooting the Stars 26-3 in the third period.
It also featured a Michael Ryder (from Ribeiro, Souray) overtime winner.
The Panthers were already down to an NHL type roster on Tuesday and many of the same players will be suited up again for both sides. If we had to guess, we'd say this one has the potential to get a little chippy. At least, chippy as far as preseason games go.
The big story on Tuesday (owing to the copious number of power play opportunities Dallas afforded the Panthers) was Kari Lehtonen, who stood on his head for much of the night en route to stopping 43 of 46 shots to preserve the Stars' victory. He is expected to start tonight and play the entire game once again.
Dallas sent seven players down to the Texas Stars on Wednesday (J. Benn, Beskorowany, Dillon, Fraser, Garbutt, Gazdic, Spang), trimming their roster to 32. The roster will be further trimmed to 23 players by sometime on Sunday. The regular season home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks is only eight days away.
We'll take a look at the lineup for tonight after the jump...
We'll have game rosters from morning skate (which may go into the one o'clock hour...) later today, but as it stands right now here is the available list of forwards after the roster cuts yesterday...
Choose your 12 forwards from that list of 16. Will Godard play because the coaches are looking at making a decision there? Will Vincour for the same reason? Will the Ryder/Ribeiro combination get a game off having already played in three of five games? Steve Ott hasn't seen game action in a few days. He'll likely be in.
Jake Dowell is a guy starting to receive a little bit of buzz out there and Gulutzan is talking about him playing center or left wing going forward, so keep an eye on that tonight when you roll on out to the game. Another guy to keep an eye on, is Colton Sceviour.
Though he won't make the NHL roster this year, he's been one of the most pleasant surprises this preseason, should be a big part of what the Texas Stars are doing this year, and could maneuver himself onto the short list of forward call ups if he continues to impress in these last two exhibition games.
Knowing the chippy nature of the last game against these same Panthers, the Stars could roll with an extremely abrasive group tonight with any combination of Barch, Godard and Wathier, not to mention Steve Ott. We can't imagine, however, that Coach Gulutzan was happy with the PK time last contest so we'll see...
Brenden Morrow is getting close and could be in tonight. They say it's his call. Trevor Daley was seen limping in Frisco yesterday, though he practiced. We'll keep an ear open on that one.
Panther fans were discouraged by the play of their netminder Tyler Plante, who allowed the Stars three goals in the second period immediately upon entering. Many in Florida are wondering if Markstrom has already won the battle to replace the injured Clemmensen behind starter Theodore.
Speaking of Theodore, the Miami Herald is reporting that he will play the whole game tonight, so it's a battle of number ones tonight in Dallas.
Panthers center Mike Santorelli was injured in the game against Dallas and will miss some time because of it. The Herald talks about who could replace him in the mean time...
"He certainly won't be ready for the start of the season,'' Dineen said. "We'll say he's a couple weeks to start and we'll go from there. This is not long term. He's pretty tender and we'll expect to see him between the start of the season and Halloween.''
With Santorelli out, a opening night roster spot just opened up. Matthias, Ryan Carter and Evgeny Dadonov are battling for it as is rookie Jonathan Huberdeau.
The third overall pick of the June 2011 draft, Huberdeau is tied for the team preseason lead with two goals and has enjoyed a strong camp. Florida would need to sign him to an entry level contract by Monday if he was to be able to play for the Panthers this season.
If Huberdeau doesn't sign, he would return to his junior team in Quebec and wouldn't be available to the Panthers except in an emergency call-up or after his junior team is eliminated from postseason play. [Miami Herald]
George Richards has the best Panthers coverage on the web and you can find him here at the Miami Herald.
Unfortunately WQAM is not sending a team to Dallas, so there will be no radio feed on either side of things tonight. The only recourse, of course, is come on out to the AAC tonight and see the Stars in person.