It appears as though the trio of Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, and Jiri Hudler will play yet another preseason game together. The chemistry that trio has shown, connecting for two goals in the two games they’ve played this preseason so far, could mean this is the Stars’ second line at the start of the season. While some figured that Hudler could be a complimentary piece to the Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin bromance, it seems he’s found a good fit with two savvy veterans that would provide the Stars with two lethal scoring lines.
Here’s the group that will be on the ice tonight at the American Airlines Center versus the Colorado Avalanche.
Hudler - Spezza - Sharp
Roussel - Faksa - Stransky
Elie - Smith - Ritchie
McKenzie - Cracknell - Ully
Hamhuis - Honka
Lindell - Johns
Oleksiak - Backman
Kari Lehtonen is the anticipated starter and should play the whole game tonight, much like Antti Niemi last night. Head coach Lindy Ruff still needs to determine who will be the starter for opening night. In the body of work so far, I’d give Niemi the edge to date.
Both Adam Cracknell and Gemel Smith get another turn at center in the Stars’ evaluation of who will slot into the bottom six with injuries to the forward corps. Both had flashes last night where they appeared to stand out, but neither has really pulled away from the other yet. They’ve got a few more preseason games and practice time to make their case for an opening night roster spot.
Puck drop is at 7:30 PM CST tonight. There is reportedly no TV or radio broadcast for tonight’s matchup from the Stars side. The Avalanche will have a radio broadcast streamed online at ColoradoAvalanche.com, so you can listen in that way.
Tyler Seguin, Ales Hemsky, and Devin Shore were all skating in the non-game group practice. REJOICE! The Stars appear to be getting one step closer to healthy(ish)!