After getting off to a very hot start, the Dallas Stars top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov has tapered off — because the third part of that trio, who missed Saturday’s contest versus the Minnesota Wild, will miss another game tonight.
So how do you replace Radulov in this lineup? Ask the top line themselves to pick a guy to ride shotgun with them, apparently. Head coach Jim Montgomery told Mike Heika today at morning skate “I asked them who they wanted, and they said they wanted [Pitlick]. I am going to give Tyler Seguin who he wants.”
Kind of hard to argue that last point, to be honest.
With Radulov missing a second game in a row, Montgomery is contemplating rolling out 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. With another home game on Thursday and then a two day break before the next one, Dallas has the option to run this kind of lineup without fear of overtaxing their roster.
Maybe this kind of mix up is just the kind of thing that could spark the Stars to end a three game losing streak early in the year. Or maybe the salvo for that is on the other side of the ice.
The Los Angeles Kings signed Ilya Kovalchuk in the summer in an effort to bolster their scoring. That hasn’t sparked their offense noticably. Oh, Kovalchuk himself is doing ok, with two goals and five points in eight games. But that’s good for second on his team, a team that is 30th in goals for per game (1.88 - behind only the Arizona Coyotes that are at 1.43 GF/G).
Dallas isn’t exactly lighting the scoring on fire lately, either though. They sit 23rd in GF/G at 2.71. They do hold a slight edge over the Kings in goals for per game (3.00 versus 3.50, respectively).
What does that all mean? For my betting odds, it’s either going to be a 1-0 game or Dallas will finally break out of its scoring funk and hang a few on a struggling team. Here is a chance for the Stars to illustrate that “boot to the throat” mentality Montgomery said they lacked in Saturday’s game. If you can’t beat the teams you should on paper, then how can you beat the ones that outmatch you on paper?
With morning skate being optional this morning, we won’t know which way Montgomery decides to go with the lineup tonight. Best guess at lines for tonight, assuming they actually do go through with a 11F/7D look would be:
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Tyler Pitlick
Devin Shore – Jason Spezza – Jason Dickinson
Mattias Janmark – Radek Faksa – Blake Comeau
Gemel Smith – Justin Dowling
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Marc Methot - Miro Heiskanen
Roman Polak - Julius Honka
Ben Bishop between the pipes.
Los Angeles Kings
Alex Iafallo - Anze Kopitar - Tyler Toffoli
Ilya Kovalchuk - Jeff Carter - Sheldon Rempal
Tanner Pearson - Adrian Kempe - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Nate Thompson - Michael Amadio
Derek Forbort - Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez
Dion Phaneuf - Sean Walker
Jonathan Quick in net.
THIS SEEMS FINE
# Kings without a goal this season = 10
# Stars without a goal this season = 6
# Kings without a point this season = 12
# Stars without a point this season = 8
GIF DESCRIBING THIS GAME