The Dallas Stars kickoff their preseason schedule with a home contest tonight versus the St. Louis Blues. Puck drop is 7:30 PM CDT from the American Airlines Center. For many fans in attendance, it’ll be the first chance they’ll have to see new head coach Jim Montgomery’s system in person, as the team opened training camp in Boise, Idaho last Friday.
Expectations for tonight should be, in this order:
1) Healthy players after the game is over
2) Speedy pace (good for conditioning)
3) Clean zone entries
4) Aggressive forecheck
5) Goals (preferably more than the other team)
Here’s the lineups from morning skate from Matt DeFranks at Dallas Morning News (he’s the new Mike Heika, if you aren’t already, make sure you’re following him on Twitter):
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Valeri Nichushkin
Jason Dickinson - Roope Hintz - Brett Ritchie
Nick Caamano - Ty Dellandrea - Jason Robertson
Miro Heiskanen - John Klingberg
Esa Lindell - Julius Honka
Gavin Bayreuther - Roman Polak
Bishop and Bow will each play approximately 30 minutes tonight (or half the game).
While that lineup makes a lot of Stars fans very excited, these power play units courtesy of Mark Stepneski are more intriguing to me.
Unit 1: Benn, Seguin, Radulov, Spezza, Klingberg
Unit 2: Janmark, Ritchie, Nichushkin, Heiskanen, Honka
Unit one looks a lot like last season, with the exception of Spezza in place of either Brett Ritchie or Devin Shore, and features Dallas’ established blueline threat manning the point. That second unit though...Honka and Heiskanen together? Seems almost unfair to the other side. Wait....does that mean Dallas will have more than one unit that could be a threat on the man advantage? Here’s hoping those in the building will get to see that group get some reps in tonight.
The Blues are going decidedly more youthful tonight, though they aren’t missing out on the chance to see their new forward acquisition from this summer center their top line:
Pat Maroon - Ryan O’Reilly - Jordan Kyrou
Zach Sanford - Robert Thomas - Dmitrij Jaskin
Mackenzie MacEachern - Oskar Sundqvist - Brian Flynn
Nolan Stevens - Trevor Smith - Jordan Nolan (if the coach yells Nolan at this line, who responds first?)
Vince Dunn - Colton Parayko
Chris Butler - Jordan Schmaltz
Tyler Wotherspoon - Carl Gunnarsson
Chad Johnson and Jordan Binnington will split the game tonight much in the same was as Dallas’ two goaltenders. Their starter, Jake Allen, has missed training camp so far with back spasms. He’s expected to hit the ice and potentially be ready later in the preseason, meaning Dallas could face him in their second-to-last preseason game next Friday night when the team travels to St. Louis.
HOW TO LISTEN
As detailed on our site earlier today, there will be no live streams of the home preseason games for the Stars. The St. Louis Blues have a radio feed only tonight available on www.kmox.com or blues.nhl.com, or you can stream through the NHL app (if you’re willing to switch allegiances for a night and go to the Blues’ page).