The Minnesota Wild return to the AAC tomorrow night looking for a repeat of Monday's seven-goal performance. While the Dallas Stars would like a (much) different outcome it appears as though they'll go with the exact same lineup and combinations Friday.
Jamie Benn missed practice yesterday in favor of a maintenance day for his still ailing hand/wrist injury suffered against the Phoenix Coyotes nearly three weeks ago, but returned today and the Stars appear to have a completely healthy lineup outside of Ryan Garbutt's hand problem.
Erik Cole missed practiced with a personal issue of some sort, but skated on his own later. Mark Stepneski reports that Jordie Benn practiced in his place along side Cody Eakin and Reilly Smith, seemingly indicating that Benn will be the healthy scratch on defense once again.
Gulutzan was asked this afternoon what he likes about Eric Nystrom with Benn as that combination continues.
"I like that he gets puck and he holds pucks low and he's real responsible defensively," said Gulutzan. "He takes a little bit of a load off of Jamie. He also can take some faceoffs for Jamie and his hand right now. He kind of gives us a lot of dimensions there. "
So expect lines tomorrow to be these:
Glen Gulutzan says they're better prepared for Minnesota this time.
"I think you're better pre-scouted for a team normally when you are playing back-to-back or every other night or you are moving from team to team," Gulutzan told media Thursday. "We got to watch them on video and we got to watch them last night, myself and Paul Jerrard watched their game last night. We're a little bit more prepared for them and their personnel and hopefully that translates into two points."
Heika Confirms Jagr Talks
Defending Big D said Monday that the Stars and Jagr were talking and in consideration of a contract extension, but the team declined at that time to comment on the situation, saying "The Dallas Stars have a policy to refrain from commenting on any on-going contract negotiations, whether they may or may not be taking place."
Yesterday Mike Heika got some thoughts from Joe Nieuwendyk on the situation, though they prefer still to not characterize the talks themselves.
"Certainly, everything that Jaromir has done, whether that's off the ice and helping the younger players or leading the team in scoring, we're happy with it," Nieuwendyk said. "So, naturally, we'd like to pursue an extension."
Nieuwendyk said he couldn't characterize the talks, other than to say that the two sides like each other. He said he doesn't want the talks to be a distraction for the team or for Jagr. [Dallas Morning News]
There's no word yet on whether or not the Stars would consider trading him at the deadline if an extension does not seem imminent, though the guess is that they'd prefer to keep him. The next three games could play a large role in the mentality of the front office on April 3rd.