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Stars vs. Predators Morning Skate: Anders Lindback in Net, Erik Cole Back On Second Line

The Dallas Stars have made a couple of changes heading into the second game of the season.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff hinted that he'd like to get Anders Lindback some playing time early in the season, and that decision has come rather quickly as the backup to Kari Lehtonen will start on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.

"We laid out a schedule for the goalies after the year was over," said Ruff. "We've had a lot of time off. I want to get Lindback in, I don't want -- obviously, we've got a road trip coming up with a back-to-back. We have to make sure we're utilizing him and keeping him ready."

The Stars backup last played in the final preseason game on Sept. 30; the trip that Ruff is speaking of is a visit to the Northeast, when the Stars will face the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders on back-to-back nights. Ruff is already planning for Lindback to start one of those games, and starting tonight is a chance for Lindback to get some playing time after the long layoff before the start of the season.

Lindback was originally drafted by the Predators in the seventh round of the 2007 NHL Draft and played 38 games for Nashville before being traded to Tampa Bay in 2012. Lindback stopped 28 of 30 shots in a 4-2 win last season for the Lightning against his former team.

On top of the change in net, the Stars will also make roster changes at forward and on defense -- although these changes were to be expected in the second game of the year. Erik Cole will get back on the ice on the second line, while Jamie Oleksiak will draw in for Kevin Connauton, who was temporarily knocked from the game on Thursday after a rather brutal fall along the boards.

The lines at morning skate this morning, per Mike Heika:

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Val Nichushkin
Erik Cole - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn - Brenden Dillon
Patrik Nemeth - Jamie Oleksiak

It was thought that Oleksiak could play on Saturday night after the opening game against the Blackhawks, as the speed of Chicago was more suited to Connauton's strengths. The Predators sport a team capable of stepping up the offense, after the additions of James Neal, Derek Roy and Mike Ribeiro and no longer is this the grind-it-out Predators team of the past -- this will be a good test for Oleksiak.

Patrick Eaves also looks to be the scratch tonight, with Cole getting back on the ice after his one-game punishment for breaking team rules. Cole had a great preseason and looked really good in the preseason, but Eaves also had a great game on Thursday night playing on the second line but will sit out in favor of Sceviour..

Look out for the young winger to perhaps get some time with the top line if Nichushkin continues to show some fatigue, a combination that apparently nearly worked perfectly in practice this morning.

Puck drop tonight is at 7 p.m. CT.