Lehtonen to Start in Goal, Seguin and Benn on Top Line as Stars Take on Florida Tonight

Wednesday, 09.18.2013 / 12:23 PM
Mark Stepneski

The Dallas Stars will roll out a pretty strong lineup for tonight’s preseason tilt against the Florida Panthers at American Airlines Center.

The top line will consist of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Erik Cole. Cody Eakin will center a line with Ray Whitney and Valeri Nichushkin, who scored two goals in Sunday’s preseason opener against St. Louis.

The defense will consist of Sergei Gonchar, Trevor Daley, Stephane Robidas, Brenden Dillon, Jordie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak.

Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal and is expected to play the first half of the game. Cristopher Nilstorp is expected to play the second half.

“We went with a pretty young lineup on the back end in the first game and tonight we’re going to go a little bit older,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “It will be a mix. Probably Friday we’ll go back to a younger lineup again in San Antonio (vs. Florida). Tonight, from the backend standpoint it’s pretty good. Up front there are some things we want to look at, so there are a couple of real good lines.”

This will be the second game for the line of Benn, Seguin and Cole.

“I like the plays they’ve made,” Ruff said. “I like the speed of that line, they can back the other team off. It’s got a physical side to it with Benn and Cole to it on the wings. It’s a line we want to take a look at.”

Power play work

At this morning’s skate in Frisco, the Stars spent time working on the power play, both five-on-four and five-on-three.

“Tomorrow’s focus will be on a lot of our special teams, a lot of focus on the penalty killing,” Ruff said. “It’s amazing that you think you have a lot of time in camp with those days in between, but we are going to play three games in four days, so there is only a little bit of time to work on those details of the game. Game morning we want to work on it and in between these games we want to work on these special teams.”

The Stars used four forwards on the power play in Sunday’s preseason game against St. Louis, and they continued to do so in Wednesday morning’s power play work. The four forwards on one power play unit were Benn, Seguin, Cole and Chiasson. The other unit had a forward group of Whitney, Eakin, Nichushkin and Brett Ritchie.

“I like the makeup, I like the fact that you can have a Whitney on his offhand and a Chiasson on his offhand,” Ruff said. “I like those right-handed shots in those situations. Any rebound opportunities can turn into goals. If it’s a lefty, it’s a tougher play. It’s a good look for us. Those guys have to be responsible at the same time, but it is something we’d look at.”

Wednesday’s preseason game

Who: Florida Panthers at Dallas Stars

Where: American Airlines Center

When: 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday morning’s lineup

Jamie Benn-Tyler-Seguin-Erik Cole

Ray Whitney-Cody Eakin-Valeri Nichushkin

Lane MacDermid-Vernon Fiddler-Alex Chiasson

Ryan Garbutt-Scott Glennie-Brett Ritchie

Trevor Daley-Sergei Gonchar

Brenden Dillon-Stephane Robidas

Jordie Benn-Jamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Cristopher Nilstorp

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