Facing their first true "must win" tonight (as in, lose and you're mathematically eliminated or will be before you play again) the Dallas Stars are shuffling things up in an effort to produce better chemistry and scoring depth throughout the lineup.
Radek Dvorak will be back after missing a half-dozen games with an ankle injury. He, of course, will be reunited with his season-long mates Vernon Fiddler and Eric Nystrom.
More importantly, Michael Ryder is being moved from Ribeiro's right and being placed along side Jamie Benn. Brandon explored the concept of getting Benn some help offensively earlier this afternoon and it appears that Gulutzan is on the same wave length.
I went through the faceoff logs in my personal database (I'm a nerd) to find games where that trio have played together. There have been nine throughout the season. The Stars are 2-6-1 when they do, and 0-3-1 on the road. Those losses include two ugly ones in San Jose and that debacle in New Jersey.
Morrow had a solid game against San Jose, the goal aside, and was moved up midway through that one. Gulutzan thinks his captain is finally feeling better.
"Mini has been feeling a lot better here lately, so we want to get a change and spread a little of the offense,'' Gulutzan said. "He's been a real pro. He knows the situation, and every day he is healthy, he is going to get incrementally better."
Reilly Smith continues to sit, and Tomas Vincour will come out of the lineup along with Jake Dowell in favor of Tom Wandell, who has been ill.
Pekka Rinne had been listed as questionable with an illness but he will start tonight. The Predators are playing for a chance to solidify their hold on part of the 4 vs 5 matchup in the West tonight. This is also their home finale, so this will be a raucous, challenging atmosphere.