In a season in which the Dallas Stars seem to be unable to stay healthy, another injury update comes to pass. This time — good news for the lineup, as the Captain Jamie Benn is expected to play tonight.
Benn had missed just one game out of 307 previous contests before going down with a foot injury on New Year’s Eve. He played on two bum hips in his Art Ross winning season, and had double hip surgeries in the offseason to avoid missing playing time. Now, the power forward for the Stars has missed the last four contests over the past two weeks, watching his squad go 1-2-1 without him in the lineup from the press box.
Luckily, the Stars had some extra rest days in there. That could only have helped Benn in his recovery.
Head coach Lindy Ruff did not run lines this morning, but reports out of morning skate indicate that Adam Cracknell and Curtis McKenzie will be the healthy scratches at forward. Patrick Eaves, who was dinged up during the Anaheim Ducks game Tuesday night, is expected to be in the lineup tonight. With all of the injuries he has sustained this season without missing games, it wouldn’t be surprising if Eaves ends up the Stars nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy this year.
With Jamie Oleksiak sustaining a hand injury in the Stars loss in Anaheim, Stephen Johns is expected to draw into the lineup. The Stars do not need to make a move to accommodate his injury, since they’re carrying six healthy defensemen on the roster today. Patrik Nemeth, who is on a conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars for up to another week or so, will return and give the Stars seven healthy blueliners with Oleksiak expected to miss some time.
In goal, Antti Niemi will receive a rare home ice start. Niemi played well in the Stars losing effort Tuesday and received no goal scoring support. Hopefully home ice will be better to him, where the Stars have scored 57 goals in 21 games (2.71 goals for average per game), slightly higher than their road scoring (51 goals in 21 games, or 2.4 goals for average per game).