Aaron Rome returns tonight for the Dallas Stars as the Minnesota Wild come to reclaim their division lead from the Vancouver Canucks tonight.
Our traditional game preview was eschewed this morning in lieu of Brenden Morrow trade coverage, because he's more than earned it, but we'll now turn our attention back to the ice to get ready for a stern test tonight at the AAC.
With Brenden Morrow gone it seems Reilly Smith will re-enter the lineup after a couple of healthy scratches. He should slot it where Morrow was with Eakin and Cole as these new line combos continue to get some run from Gulutzan.
The bigger on-ice news for Dallas tonight is that defenseman Aaron Rome is back after missing 13 games with a broken foot, and that means that Jordie Benn is the odd-man out tonight.
Gulutzan and Jerrard have leaned heavily on the Robidas/Dillon and Daley/Goligoski pairings, keeping Philip Larsen and Jordie Benn to near single-digit minutes. A similar deployment this evening could allow Rome to ease back into things, but there's a chance he'll see some PK time too if his conditioning is where they want it.
Kari Lehtonen will start in net.
Mike Heika reports the Stars are listing Stephane Robidas, Ray Whitney and Loui Eriksson as alternate captains for this one.
Something else to ponder in your seat tonight: Having seen Brenden Morrow play his last, fans may have to start pondering which game could be Roy's as the pending UFA center appears no closer to a deal with the team and things heating up on the trade front.
Last Wednesday night on NBC Sports Network the broadcast crew mentioned that the Wild were attempting to win in Detroit for the first time since 2006. They did. That was after having beat Vancouver in Vancouver for the first time in 12 attempts.
Now the red-hot Wild come to slay their biggest road foe: Their 0-11-5 record at American Airlines Center going back an entire decade now to March of 2003.
The accommodating four points Minnesota has afforded the Stars at home for 10 years are in serious jeopardy tonight and Friday as this is not your slightly older brothers Wild team. The bold strike of landing both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in the summer, no matter what you may think of those contracts as long term investments, appears to be paying dividends.
The Wild enter this one on a five-game win streak, and they've taken four straight on the road. They've won seven of eight overall, scoring 3.25 per game in that stretch. Though they've given up 30.5 shots against in that same span, they've allowed only 1.87 goals against. Stingy.
Yes, Dany Heatley is on their third line. That's some balance.