Brenden Dillon not on the ice with the Stars at the morning skate in Anaheim.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 18, 2014
In his stead it certainly seems as through rookie Patrik Nemeth will remain, along with... Kevin Connauton?
Kevin Connauton is off. Aaron Rome still on. Lines I tweeted look like lines.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 18, 2014
Trying to divine Lindy Ruff's intentions from two time zones away through the tweets of Mr. Heika isn't an exact science, but typically the guys that stay out late for additional work are the ones that aren't going to play that evening.
So take that for what you will. Given the Stars' challenges with escaping the Ducks' forecheck, first with their feet and then with the pass, it would seem to make sense to reinsert Connauton.
Ruff has played games with the media before this season. To see him do it against a playoff opponent would be of no surprise. So well be believe these other, pretty significant changes, when we see them...
Benn-Seguin-Whitney, Roussel-Eakin-Chiasson, Cole-Horcoff-Garbutt, Sceviour-Fiddler-Nichuskin. Not sure if that means anything.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 18, 2014
Benn and Seguin stay together for the time being after having Colton Sceviour and Valeri Nichushkin on their right during game one, and Ray Whitney enters the picture. Whitney did not have good possession metrics in game one, so this is a bit of an adjustment that can help protect him defensively while figuring that sometimes anyone can ride shotgun with those guys and be OK.
Sceviour-Fiddler-Nichushkin is an intriguing combination down the lineup, and could be a threat to score if the right match-up presents itself. That would be key, as the Ducks' depth lines were clearly better than the Stars' on Wednesday night.
Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt get separated, minimizing shenanigans to some extent, and Alex Chiasson gets the call to a more prominent role. Eakin's line saw a lot of the Koivu trio in game one.
Ruff joked that he "let the players choose their lines" after the skate was over. We'll see if they provide more offensive balance throughout and what Boudreau makes of them in terms of getting Perry and Getzlaf out there in the match-ups he likes.
Devante Smith-Pelly will make his NHL playoff debut for Anaheim in lieu of the injured Beleskey (1 G, 1 A Wednesday). Smith-Pelly was a fantastic AHL player this year and Bruce Boudreau calls him a power forward in the making. He had two points (1, 1) in Anaheim's final two games this season.
Ryan Getzlaf's wife had a baby last night and he missed morning skate, but he will, of course, play this evening. See you here at 9:00pm CST. Bring alcohol.