Brace yourselves, for I bring to you tidings of sweet goodness. I know that’s such a difference from what we usually have to offer around here.
Jason Spezza appears to be healthy enough to return to the lineup for the Dallas Stars. The team has surely missed his faceoff ability and playmaking ability on the ice since he last played over a week ago versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
Thanks to the reporting of Mike Heika and Mark Stepneski, we know that the lines at morning skate for the Stars should look something like this tonight:
Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Lauri Korpikoski
Antoine Roussel - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Gemel Smith - Devin Shore - Jason Spezza
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Brett Ritchie
Justin Dowling is a healthy scratch at the forward position.
Patrick Sharp and Cody Eakin were skating in red jerseys today, which is a step forward for both to returning to the Stars lineup. Eakin could return as early as this Thursday or Saturday in the Stars four game homestand. Sharp is reportedly closer to returning, but there is no timetable for his return. Jiri Hudler remains out with a mystery illness with no idea on when he’ll be ready to return either.
On defense, Stephen Johns will draw back into the pairings:
Dan Hamhuis - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn
Those pairings mean that Jamie Oleksiak and Esa Lindell are your scratches on defense. The Oleksiak scratch is not terribly surprising, given that he had a very forgettable game in Vancouver on Sunday night.
Antti Niemi will get the start at home. He’s definitely had better games on American Airlines Center ice than on the road so far this season.
The New Jersey Devils will be without Taylor Hall, who was acquired in the offseason from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson. Hall leads the Devils in goals (5) and points (12), so they’ll be without one of their main offensive weapons tonight as he sits out with the ever-enlightening “lower body injury”.