With the Dallas Stars getting ready to head into the heart of the season, they are once again trying to get a backup goaltender going.
As the first goalie off the ice for Tuesday's morning skate, Anders Lindback looks like the starter for the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the American Airlines Center.
Lindback is coming off the first win by a Stars backup since March of 2014, which he picked up in relief as the Stars stormed back against the Edmonton Oilers for the shootout win in late December. He played well in that game and, by all reports, very well in his brief stint in the AHL.
"He had a real good stint down there and played well, then stepped in and played well in Edmonton for us," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after morning skate. "At practice, he's a workaholic. Day in and day out, he's a guy who does probably more than enough work."
But with Kari Lehtonen getting his game back on track, Lindback hasn't had the chance to get in an NHL rhythm since his return. Tonight will be the first chance for him to prove he can put forward a good enough 60 minutes to get a victory.
On the forward side of things, Shawn Horcoff returned to the ice for the first time in about a week after going on injured reserve with an unnamed illness that was presumably not mumps (one day I will stop being amused that mumps is a thing in the NHL this season, but today is not that day). He split time on the fourth line in the skate with Vernon Fiddler, Travis Moen and newest wunderkind Brett Ritchie, but as he stayed out late at the morning skate, it appears Horcoff will be the scratch tonight.
"He was trying to convince me that he was ready, and I was trying to convince him that maybe a couple practice days would be good," Ruff joked. "I think the great thing about Shawn is he wants to play, and he's doing good again."
Travis Morin, who had been filling in the 13th forward spot, was sent back to the AHL's Texas Stars on Monday afternoon. With a 2-2-4 line in his first three NHL games, Ritchie will be hard to take out of the lineup. Then again, so will any forward at this point with the team scoring an average of 5.67 goals per game over the last three.
There was also a new face among the defensemen as David Schlemko made his debut in a Stars uniform at morning skate after being picked up off waivers from the Coyotes late last week. He split time with Jamie Oleksiak in the slot alongside Trevor Daley. Schlemko joined Horcoff and Lehtonen in staying late at the practice, so there will likely be no changes on the blueline either.
In all, the lines and pairings looked like this:
Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole-Jason Spezza-Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel-Cody Eakin-Ryan Garbutt
Travis Moen-Vernon Fiddler-Brett Ritchie/Shawn Horcoff
Alex Goligoski-John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak/David Schlemko-Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn-Jason Demers
For the Jackets, it looks like Sergei Bobrovsky will be in net behind the following lineup.
#CBJ lines: Calvert-Dubinsky-Atkinson; Hartnell-Johansen-Foligno; Collins-Wennberg-Skille; Morin-Letestu-Boll.— Shawn Mitchell (@smitchcd) January 6, 2015
#CBJ pairs: Johnson-Savard; Connauton-Wisniewski; Goloubef-Tyutiin.— Shawn Mitchell (@smitchcd) January 6, 2015