With two consecutive wins on the road in their annual east coast swing through the northeast, the Dallas Stars are rolling with the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality for tonight’s matchup with the New Jersey Devils.
Kari Lehtonen, who has had to make some timely saves in the last two games and has turned in great performances, will get the start tonight, with Ben Bishop returning to the net versus the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow night.
Antoine Roussel will draw into the lineup after banging up his elbow about a week ago, so it is likely one of Gemel Smith or Brett Ritchie could come out. Alexander Radulov, who missed part of the third period versus the New York Islanders Wednesday night after blocking a shot and hobbling to the bench, did not practice yesterday, is a game time decision for tonight.
We will have to see what head coach Ken Hitchcock does with his lines after morning skate. Two games ago, looking to mix things up after a losing streak for his club, Hitchcock retooled his lines in an effort to achieve some scoring balance. It is likely the lines will resemble what has been working for this road trip, though Radulov’s potential unavailability could force further retooling. Here is what the latest iteration of lines have looked like:
Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Alexander Radulov
Remi Elie - Tyler Seguin - Devin Shore
Gemel Smith - Martin Hanzal - Brett Ritchie
With the team rolling right now, and no known injuries on the blueline, I would expect that Julius Honka will remain in for tonight and for the defensive pairings to remain status quo. After all, the team has onky allowed a combined three goals in the past two games - a very solid defensive effort. Pairings should be as follows:
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Stephen Johns - Julius Honka
After stopping the streaking Los Angeles Kings in a resounding 5-1 win on Tuesday night, the New Jersey Devils were held to just one goal in an overtime loss to the listing Montreal Canadiens last night. They’ll be motivated to get back in the win column, but how far can motivation go in staving off heavy legs after playing extra hockey about 24 hours before the puck drops?
Taylor Hall, their leader in scoring, missed Thursday’s game with a knee contusion. It’s possible that he draws back into the lineup tonight, but with the team likely forgoing a morning skate today, we will have to wait to see if he’s feeling well enough to go.
Puck drop is at 6 PM CDT tonight, earlier than usual thanks to the time zone difference. The game will be televised on FSSW and broadcast on The Ticket (96.7 FM / 1310 AM / theticket.com).