There was some good news from Dallas Stars morning skate on Tuesday as a pair of injured defensemen who haven't been on the ice in about a week, John Klingberg and Jordie Benn made their return to skating with their teammates.
While it was nice to see them skating with (most of) the team, neither player is quite ready to get back into the lineup just yet. According to Lindy Ruff, the lineup will remain the same for tonight's game against the Los Angeles Kings except for Kari Lehtonen getting the start in goal over Antti Niemi. It will be Lehtonen's fifth start in the last six games.
That also means that Sharp, who did practice with the full team on Monday, is still out as well. All three players - Benn, Klingberg and Sharp - have been dealing with lower-body injuries without much further explanation. Both Benn and Sharp are injuries they've been dealing with for longer stretches of the season.
Additionally, Mattias Janmark is still out with a relatively mysterious upper-body injury. He last played in Friday's win over the Chicago Blackhawks and did not participate in this morning's optional skate. Other absences were Jason Demers (shoulder) and the healthy quartet of Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Patrick Eaves and Antoine Roussel (perhaps so he did not throw any of his teammate's sticks over the glass).
The Kings roll into the American Airlines Center off a 5-0 walloping of the Chicago Blackhawks last night and have brought themselves all the way back into the conversation for the top team in the Western Conference. They are four points back of the Stars, who currently hold that title, with two games in hand, and they are 8-1-1 in the back-half of back-to-backs this season.
The main difference in earning the top overall seed in this scenario would be the right to play the second wildcard team in the first round. That team will almost assuredly come from the Central and could be either the Colorado Avalanche or Minnesota Wild.