The Dallas Stars will try to guarantee a 0.500 road trip tonight when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 6 p.m. CST, and given that they are coming off of a victory on the back-end of a back-to-back, it's not surprising there appear to be minimal changes to the lineup.
Winger Ales Hemsky skated with the team for the second time in as many days, but stayed out late and with the extra players, so it appears he will be a scratch for the second consecutive game. After starting the season quickly, Hemsky has been battling some problems with his surgically repaired hip, though the team hasn't expounded upon any details.
Lindy Ruff hasn't seemed overly concerned with Hemsky's status though, mentioning it's something John Klingberg went through during his recovery last season. Klingberg didn't make his way to the NHL level until mid-November after spending 4-5 weeks getting up to game speed in the AHL.
As far as why Hesmky's struggling and double-hip-surgery man Jamie Benn isn't, that's because Jamie Benn is made of magic so far this season. It's as good an explanation as any.
Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak also skated late as per usual. That means both the defensive and forward players should stay the same (though if the forward lines stay intact is anyone's guess at this point) coming off the 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Another thing that will be staying the same is the goalie, with Kari Lehtonen making his second consecutive start after spending several games on the bench. Lehtonen probably wants the first goal against the Bruins back, but he settled in nicely as Boston doubled-up the Stars in shots, making several nice stops to let his teammates take advantage of a Tyler Seguin hat trick.
For those of us playing the home game:
Sixth start in 14 games for Lehtonen vs. eight for Niemi, if you are keeping count. https://t.co/LHhoa1SeRy— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) November 6, 2015
It's almost like they've got a rough schedule they're following for this goalie tandem thing.
On the Hurricanes side of things, Eddie Lack looks like the starter in net tonight for Carolina. The extra-tall Swede has struggled, at least statistically, this season since being acquired by the Hurricanes this summer with a 1-2 record, 0.852 save percentage and 3.60 goals against average. His last start came Oct. 29, when he made 17 saves on 19 shots for an overtime win over the New York Islanders.
The Hurricanes are playing the first night of a back-to-back set, though, with the Ottawa Senators coming to Raleigh on Saturday, so this seems like the logical time to get Lack more work while Cam Ward prepares for the conference game.
Here are some moving pictures and sound from Seguin and Ruff from this morning, courtesy of the Stars awesome video staff: