Good news, Dallas Stars fans. All eight Dallas defensemen are healthy. It's a luxury- Eight healthy NHL bodies to consider night in and night out. They allowed just two goals (plus the empty netter) Saturday. Everything is just great.
Please ignore the elephant standing just there. To your right.
The one standing on top of Mattias Janmark, Patrick Eaves, Patrick Sharp, Cody Eakin, Jiri Hudler- And now Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. Seven of them.
Spezza "tweaked" something at practice Monday and is now questionable for this contest tonight. Hemsky has hurt an adductor muscle- That's "groin" to you, and has been placed on injured reserve. His coach does not think he was ever particularly ready to play.
"I don't think he was ever ready to go," Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. "He was close, and he wanted to play. We all know Ales, when he's going, he is flying. Halfway through the game he was struggling again."
The only forwards from Jim Nill's top-nine design allegedly prepared to definitely play hockey this evening are misters Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but check back after morning skate for updates and monitor police bands on your scanner.
With Jamie Benn taking a maintenance day off the ice no one was particularly interested in tweeting about possible forward combinations. It will be interesting to see if Lindy Ruff has to split Seguin and Benn up if the offense continues to struggle- Though he did the opposite in centralizing his talent with Spezza joining the duo late Saturday evening.
The defensive pairings were mixed up for practice, as health has not always been synonymous with what Ruff wants to ultimately see out there-
Lindy Ruff juggled his defense today. In no particular order:— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 24, 2016
Kari Lehtonen played well and had little to do with either goal scored on him, but they could go back to Niemi if for no other reason than to mix it up and change the vibe. They liked balancing the workload last season and change is in order. As always, we'll see.
Justin Dowling has been re-called from Cedar Park as the Texas Stars roster continues to take a hit for every one the Stars does.
The Winnipeg Jets enter tonight having also been shutout 3-0 in their last outing- The Edmonton Oilers used 32 shots to Winnipeg's 31 and a shorthanded goal en route to the win at MTS Centre Sunday night.
They're staring up at the rest of the Central like the Stars are, 2-3-0 in their first five and looking rather like Dallas overall (before the injuries). They can score and have reached five twice already, but can't seem to keep the puck out of the back of their own net.
The Jets allowed four goals in each of their first four games on an average of about 31 shots against- Similar to Dallas' 32 SA/G number. They've earned, in this small sample size, the league's second worst faceoff percentage and the league's second worst penalty kill (68.8%) to go along with 10.0% power play unit.
They'll come with this or something very like it:
Winnipeg's injury list is considerably more maneagable as it's just center Bryan Little out for this one.
From Stars PR:
COOL YOUR JETS
The Dallas Stars take on the Winnipeg Jets for the first of five meetings during the 2016-17 campaign on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Dallas and Winnipeg meet two times this week, with the second meeting occurring at MTS Centre on Thursday night. The Stars went 4-1-0 against the Jets last season, posting a 2-1-0 record at American Airlines Center. In the most recent game in Dallas, the Stars fell to the Jets, 6-3, on Feb. 25, 2016. Forward Patrick Sharp notched a season-high three points (0-3=3) with forward Jason Spezza adding two goals (2-0=2). Forward Tyler Seguin also added a goal for Dallas (1-0=1) in the game.
BENNY AND THE JETS
Stars captain Jamie Benn recorded a goal (1-0=1) on Thursday night against the Kings and now has four points (2-2=4) this season, which is tied for second on the team. Benn shares first on Dallas with two goals and ranks third on the club and leads Stars forwards with 19:40 TOI/G. Benn finished with a career-high 89 points (41-48=89), including a career-high 41 goals, in 82 games during the 2015-16 season. The native of Victoria, B.C. ranked second in the League in points (89) and third in goals (41), with his 41 goals registering as the second-most by a Stars player since the team moved to Dallas and tied for the 11th-most in franchise history. Benn has points in two-straight games against the Jets (2-1=3) and 12 points (5-7=12) over his last 12 games against them. Over his NHL career, he has skated in 17 career games against the Jets franchise (Atlanta/Winnipeg), recording 18 points (7-11=18).
SEGS N' BACON
Stars forward Tyler Seguin registered a season-best two assists (0-2=2) against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, Oct. 20. The forward registered his second multi-point game of the season and the 95th multi-point contest of his NHL career. Since joining the Dallas Stars prior to the 2013-14 season, Seguin has 69 multi-point games which is the second-most in the NHL over that span (most: Sidney Crosby, 77). Through five games this season, he leads the club with five points (2-3=5) and is tied for first in goals (2) and assists (3). The native of Brampton, Ont. has a six-game point streak against the Jets (4-6=10) and has 21 points (11-10=21) in 13 games against Winnipeg in a Stars uniform. In his NHL career between Boston and Dallas, he recorded 25 points (13-12=25) in 23 games against the Winnipeg franchise (Atlanta/Winnipeg)