The Dallas Stars, winners of game three last night, had an optional practice in Frisco this afternoon as they prepare for their attempt to even the series at 2-2 tomorrow night.
The big news item, and thankfully the only continuing item of any real consequence, was Brenden Dillon's health, of course. There's a bit of a good news/bad news situation with that.
He skated and got through the entire practice, per reports. But he's not quite ready.
Lindy Ruff said Brenden Dillon a "longshot" to play tomorrow.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) April 22, 2014
The Stars can keep what worked for them last night intact, secure in the knowledge that it can beat the Ducks, and Dillon gets another couple of days more in the mean time to get himself right with what will, either way, be a game of critical importance on Friday. Potentially.
Last night Jordie Benn, Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley accounted for about 77 minutes of what's typically (two defensemen x 60 minutes) 120 minutes worth of play. Patrik Nemeth played more even strength minutes than did Kevin Connauton and about four additional minutes overall thanks to penalty killing duty.
At 12:12 of even-strength time Sergei Gonchar barely earned more than the rookies. This kind of imbalance puts a strain on the top pairing. Getting a healthy, capable Dillon back for game five, maybe, potentially, would be a big deal.
Then there was this little nugget from today:
Also from today: Lindy Ruff said Erik Cole scratch was coach's decision.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) April 22, 2014
The Stars post-game show on The Ticket was adamant that Cole's exclusion was due to the upper-body injury with which he struggled down the stretch of the regular season. Now Ruff says it was just a call he made. There's a lot of misinformation this time of year either way - the real question is who plays Wednesday night? Cole, Jeffrey or Mueller?
The Stars, meanwhile, were not missing any opportunity to chirp the Ducks after certain post-game comments last night from their players and coaching staff...
There wasn't much out of the Ducks' camp that I saw today... Robidas did not have surgery, evidently, and is still considering his options.
They'll have to use Mark Fistric or Luca Sbisa as replacements. They just sent down 22-year old Sami Vatanen, but could bring him back depending on roles they're looking for and pairing configurations.
Get a good night's sleep. We do it all over again tomorrow.