Though the Dallas Stars made it through training camp relatively unscathed compared to their opponent tonight, the injury bug is starting to sneak up on them.
Alexander Radulov will miss his third game in a row with a lower-body injury. Marc Methot will be out tonight as well with some soreness — something Methot dealt with during training camp and preseason, likely related to his knee injury from the end of last season.
There is some good news on the injury front, at least.
Valeri Nichushkin returns to the lineup tonight after missing a handful of games. Stephen Johns, who has missed the start of the season due to post-traumatic headaches, is targeting a return to the lineup when the Stars kick off their longest road trip of the season on Sunday versus the Detroit Red Wings.
On the other side of the ice tonight, the Anaheim Ducks haven’t gotten much healthier than their last trip to the American Airlines Center (a whopping 12 days ago). They did gain one Nick Ritchie in that time, though. The restricted free agent and the team came to an agreement on a three year, $4.6 million contract (approximately $1.5 million average value over the contract).
Since surrendering their lead and watching the Stars score four straight goals in a little over 6:30 in the second period of their last meeting, the Ducks won their next two games before hitting a three game losing skid heading into tonight’s game.
Dallas knows all about the desperation a team feels to snap that kind of streak. Maybe they can repeat history and extend Anaheim’s losing streak much like they did to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
So the carousel on the top line continues, with Justin Dowling getting the start next to the dynamic duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin tonight. Here were the lines that will start the game tonight, according to head coach Jim Montgomery, to assembled media courtesy of Matt DeFranks at Dallas Morning News (who we highly recommend following on Twitter):
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Justin Dowling
Devin Shore - Jason Spezza - Tyler Pitlick
Mattias Janmark - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Dickinson - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Connor Carrick
Julius Honka - Roman Polak
Ben Bishop gets another start between the pipes.
Unsurprisingly, the Stars are not going to do the 11 forward / 7 defensemen look again tonight. Montgomery said after last game that the seven blueliners didn’t work out that great, though he liked the way the forwards played short a guy. Bishop was pretty solid in net, and with their road trip opening on a back-to-back set on Sunday, it’s not surprising he gets the start tonight.
Nick Ritchie - Ryan Getzlaf - Rickard Rakell
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Isac Lundestrom
Ben Street - Adam Henrique - Pontus Aberg
Max Comtois - Sam Steel - Kiefer Sherwood
Cam Fowler - Josh Manson
Hampus Lindholm - Brandon Montour
Marcus Pettersson - Luke Schenn
John Gibson will start in net. You’ll remember him as the goaltender that faced over 30 shots on goal in just the second period that Dallas sent his way before being taken out of the game for the last 20 minutes two weeks ago.