Dallas Stars Morning Skate: Jordie Benn Still Out With Back Soreness, Kari Lehtonen Likely Starter
The Stars try for another two points over the Calgary Flames with the same lineup that earned them a win Saturday in Vancouver.
No team likes to cop to scoreboard watching, even at the time of year where how other teams perform is just as critical as your own ability to pick up points.
But Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff admitted that both teams in tonight's game against the Calgary Flames will probably have a little bit of an extra jump after the Winnipeg Jets lost last night.
"The answer to that obviously is yes because we need that to happen," Ruff told the assembled media after Monday's morning skate. "For both teams, there might be a little extra step. So we're looking at an opportunity to close the gap, and it's the only thing we can hope for."
Both Calgary (currently holding on to the third seed in the Pacific Division at 89 points, one ahead of the LA Kings) and Dallas (six points behind the Winnipeg Jets, whose 90 points has them in the final wild card spot) remain in desperate need of points entering tonight's contest.
Cynics might say an overtime or shootout victory for the Stars would be perfect for both teams. Calgary would get their point to go two up on the Kings and also tie Winnipeg for the final Wild Card berth if necessary while the Stars would move within four of the Jets with five games remaining. That's exactly what the teams did last Wednesday when they met in Calgary after all.
But the Flames could, if all 100 things break right, be that final wild card team the Stars are trying to chase. So playing with that sort of cynicism this early is probably dangerous. I'm sure there are some Jets fans thinking it might turn out that way, though.
On the lineup front, Jordie Benn, who sat on Saturday as the Stars played near his hometown, looks like he will be missing tonight's game as well with what the team is describing as "back soreness," and the defensive pairs will line up in the same fashion as they did against the Canucks, according to Mike Heika.
The forward lineup also looks similar, as it appears Ryan Garbutt has earned a second consecutive start while Colton Sceviour sits again:
Stars lines at morning skate: Benn-Eakin-Seguin Eaves-Spezza-Hemsky Roussel-Fiddler-Garbutt McKenzie-Horcoff-Ritchie— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) March 30, 2015
Kari Lehtonen, this mornings first goalie off the ice, looks set to make yet another consecutive start for the Stars as he continues his run of strong play. He allowed three goals to the Canucks but had a .918 save percentage in the game and came up with several stellar saves when necessary.
The Flames will send out Jonas Hiller, the Stars old friend from last season's playoffs, in place of Karri Ramo. Ramo gave up a pair of goals to Ales Hemsky and another to Jamie Benn as the Flames used two goals from Deryk Engelland, of all people, to earn the bonus point. Tyler Seguin had the only goal of the shootout.