Dallas Stars Look to Antti Niemi to Backstop Recent Skid Upon Return Home
The Dallas Stars may also run some different lines in an effort to stop their swoon in January.
Antti Niemi will get the start in net tonight, as the Dallas Stars take on the Edmonton Oilers on home ice. They return home after a demonstrably bad road skid, and hope to turn their fortunes around starting tonight.
One thing to watch tonight will be the line match-ups Lindy Ruff deploys. Ruff, who has last change as an advantage to being at home, ran lines like this in morning skate:
Antoine Roussel - Mattias Janmark - Ales Hemsky
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin - Cody Eakin - Jason Spezza
Colton Sceviour - Vernon Fiddler - Patrick Eaves
It's possible that Ruff could look to give the Janmark line some of the typical offensive zone starts the first line usually sees as a reward for their play in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. That line created quite a bit in their own zone. The GQ line may be deployed against easier competition in an effort to get them going again offensively. That Eakin line is made up of a lot of puck possession and puck hounding, which Ruff could use as an offensive transition unit, to get the puck in their own zone more.
Travis Moen is the anticipated scratch at forward.
On defense, the pairings remain the same among the top four D, though the bottom pair will see a different look tonight:
Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka - Esa Lindell
Patrik Nemeth will be scratched again, though that isn't necessarily a big surprise given that his pairing was absolutely destroyed in possession on Tuesday night with relatively easier minutes. While Lindell was a part of that, the thought here is that the Stars may want to see more of what Lindell can do with his size.