The Dallas Stars will face the Chicago Blackhawks tonight for the first time this season without their number one center. Tyler Seguin suffered a 15% cut to the Achilles on the last play against the Tampa Bay Lightning last Thursday night. Seguin will miss the next 3-4 weeks with the injury, so Stars fans won't see him back in the lineup until the start of the playoffs this season.
In other injury news, the Stars will be without Mattias Janmark for the fifth straight game, as he remains out with an upper body injury. Defenseman Jason Demers remains out, with his return not anticipated until the very end of the season or the beginning of the playoffs.
On the positive side, Jordie Benn appears to be ready to return from his lower body injury, adding more depth to the Stars blueline. With his return, the Stars ran four D-pairs during their optional morning skate today:
Kris Russell - Alex Goligoski
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Jordie Benn
Kris Russell is dealing with a lower body injury, so it is possible that he draws out of the lineup tonight and Benn draws into the lineup in his spot. Head coach Lindy Ruff plans to skate seven blueliners in warm-ups tonight, so pairings could change. Jamie Oleksiak skated late, according to Dallas Morning News' Mike Hieka, so he's more than likely a healthy scratch tonight.
On the forward side, lines weren't run this morning with the optional nature of the skate, so we can expect to see lines similar to the ones utilized in the win over the Islanders (sans Seguin). Travis Moen is anticipated to be a healthy scratch tonight. Lines could look like this, but I would expect Ruff to use the blender depending on match-ups in game tonight:
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichsuhkin - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky
Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Brett Ritchie
Kari Lehtonen gets the start tonight, with Antti Niemi struggling to find his game. Lehtonen is coming off of a 27-save shutout of the Islanders as well as a .913 SV% win over these very Blackhawks 11 days ago.