"It's our biggest game of the year," said Glen Gulutzan following morning skate at the AAC.
The Stars' head coach confirmed that Sheldon Souray (charlie horse) and Radek Dvorak (ankle) will return to the lineup after multi-game absences. That allows the Stars to return to the lineup they used for the last few games of the 10-0-1 run, before dropping consecutive decisions to Winnipeg and Chicago:
The defensive pairings are what we've come to expect from a healthy Stars roster post-Grossman trade, and the forward group is largely un-changed, but the news is that Ryan Garbutt and Tomas Vincour will both be healthy scratches, joining Toby Petersen.
The metrics say that Tom Wandell and Tomas Vincour have had a good run, whoever they're with, at pushing the puck up ice (zone % delta), but Jake Dowell gets the nod. It's a decision about players that get 6-8 minutes, but maybe relying more on the veterans in a big spot like this is the way to go?
In their last meeting with Phoenix (February 18th, 2-1 OTL) the Stars were without Sheldon Souray, Brenden Morrow, and Jamie Benn. Adam Pardy was paired with Philip Larsen. Tonight will give them a bit of a different look.
Radim Vrbata (illness) and Taylor Pyatt (?) are game time decisions for Phoenix. Mike Smith will start in goal.