Before heading out on a brief West Coast road swing, the Dallas Stars were hopeful they might have a fully healthy lineup when they came home for a four-game homestand, at least from their projected top nine forwards.
But injuries to Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow on the trip have dashed that hope. So even as Ray Whitney is ready to return from a broken foot that has cost him 16 games, the Stars will still be without their full compliment of scorers for tonight's game against the Nashville Predators.
The good news is that both Benn and Morrow participated in today's morning skate. But that doesn't mean they'll be ready to go against the Preds, as Mike Heika reports.
Ray Whitney and Tomas Vincour expected to play tonight. Jamie Benn (wrist) and Brenden Morrow (groin) probably out.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) March 12, 2013
Mark Stepneski had a slightly different take on the players who are in or out tonight.
Whitney in tonight. Morrow out. Jamie Benn unlikely.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) March 12, 2013
Morrow has been nursing a tweaked groin since injuring it early in the game against the Los Angeles Kings while Benn suffered some sort of wrist injury against the Phoenix Coyotes well before he was blindsided by a head-high shoulder from Martin Hanzal.
Whitney should help replace some of the offense. He had two goals and four assists for six points in eight games played, including three power play points, and will likely play on a line with Derek Roy and former Carolina Hurricanes buddy Erik Cole.
Vincour is back in the NHL after Matt Fraser was sent back to the Texas Stars on Monday afternoon. Fraser played on the third line in the team's 2-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, and while he continued to show off the wicked release that has many buzzing about him, he also made a silly turnover behind his own net that led directly to the Coyotes game-winning goal.
Vincour has 28 points in 47 games for the Texas Stars this season and has played eight games with Dallas this year. He's been up and down a few times this season, most recently in late January and early February. Heika says Vincour is expected to slide in on the third-line right wing spot alongside Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel.
Heika also reported that Philip Larsen will be the healthy scratch again, leaving the defensive pairs as Brad mentioned in the gameday preview intact.