Part of the success of the Dallas Stars down this end-of-season stretch has been a dominating performance from Ben Bishop night after night. Bishop is now in possession of the longest shutout streak in franchise history, but the Stars may be without him for the final stretch of the season after Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
The Dallas goaltender left the ice after the Stars’ third goal last night and did not return for the rest of the game. The official word is a day-to-day lower body injury, but Dallas head coach Jim Montgomery should have more of an update at his media availability closer to game time. The Stars recalled Landon Bow for tonight’s game, so for at least this game, Bishop is unable to play.
With Bishop unlikely between the pipes, expect Anton Khudobin, who has also had a strong season for the Stars, to start against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Joel L’Esperance scored his first NHL goal last night, which means the seal may finally be broken. He had some great things to say about his chemistry with linemates Jason Dickinson and Jamie Benn in last night’s postgame scrum:
Joel L'Esperance is really clicking with linemates Jamie Benn and Jason Dickinson. He shares what it was like scoring his first NHL goal tonight. pic.twitter.com/rdi24HWbjk— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 15, 2019
New question: do we think the three J’s have helped them gel?
Valeri Nichushkin is currently in possession of the longest scoreless streak to start a season in the NHL. Surely something has to give at some point. Roope Hintz found his groove on Tuesday night, scoring two against the Buffalo Sabres, and another against the Wild last night.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights aren’t having quite the same runaway season that they did last year, but that hasn’t seemed to matter against the Stars in their two previous meetings this season. In five games against the club since its founding, the Stars have only managed to win one game, back in November 2017.
Their most recent meeting ended in a 4-1 loss during which the Stars allowed Vegas to shellac Bishop for 48 shots on goal while making only 24 themselves. This isn’t what anyone would call ideal. The Stars have found a groove since this last meeting, but they’ll be tired after a road game last night and they haven’t been their best against Vegas.
The Golden Knights are coming off a brutal 6-3 loss to the Calgary Flames, but that was Sunday night and they’ve had a four-day break to rest up since then. With the Stars playing just last night, they’ll have to overcome some travel weariness.
No roster decisions have been announced for either team.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Updated from this afternoon. Nichushkin replaces Janmark and Oleksiak replaces Polak.
Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jamie Benn - Jason Dickinson - Joel L’Esperance
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Ben Lovejoy
Jamie Oleksiak - Taylor Fedun
Vegas Golden Knights Lineup
Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty - Paul Stastny - Mark Stone
Tomas Nosek - Cody Eakin - Alex Tuch
Ryan Carpenter - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan Reaves
Nate Schmidt - Brayden McNabb
Shea Theodore - Deryk Engelland
John Merrill - Colin Miller