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Stars Ready to Get Back at it vs. Hurricanes

Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 1:41 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Stars Ready to Get Back at it vs. Hurricanes
When the Dallas Stars returned from the Olympic break, GM Jim Nill was asked where he thought his team stood as it prepared for the stretch drive. Nill said that is a good question.

When the Dallas Stars returned from the Olympic break, GM Jim Nill was asked where he thought his team stood as it prepared for the stretch drive. Nill said that is a good question.

“I think every team is the same. I don’t think anybody really knows where their team is going to be at,” Nill said. “We had a great run here to get ourselves in a playoff position and now we are going to start up. We had two weeks off. We’re excited, but until we get playing I don’t think we know where anybody is at in the league.”

As far as where the Stars are heading, we’ll start finding out tonight when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at the American Airlines Center in their first game out of the break. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he believes his team is ready.

“I think, just judging by practice, we’re ready to go,” Ruff said. “Our guys have done their part to stay ready and be in the best possible shape, game-shape that they can be in.”

Still, the Stars haven’t played a game in almost three weeks, so tonight’s game could present some challenges.

“We need to be the least rusty team,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “They’ve already had a game (Tuesday at Buffalo) to get the rust off, get the legs going and to get in game mode. We’ve have a couple weeks of good practices and some time to relax the body. Now it’s just a matter of playing those games and getting back to Dallas Stars hockey.”

“I’m hoping that we can keep the shifts short,” said Ruff. “We can have some good shifts and create some good energy, but you can anticipate a little bit of rust and I think we’re going to have to be ready to get through that.”

The Stars, who headed into the break in eighth place in the Western Conference, will enter tonight’s game in ninth place, one point behind Vancouver, which took over the final playoff spot in the conference with a 1-0 win over St. Louis.

Tonight’s game will kick off a stretch of three straight and six of seven at American Airlines Center.

Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice for the Dallas Stars, so he is expected to get the start in goal tonight. Aaron Rome is expected to be the lone healthy scratch. Stephane Robidas (leg) remains out due to injury.

Anton Khudobin will start in goal for the Hurricanes.

Quotable: Lindy Ruff

“I said the only disappointment this morning is we’ve got to wait until tonight to play. It’s great to be back. The guys sense the importance of these coming games and they’ve worked hard the past seven, eight days to be ready.”

Thursday’s game

Who: Carolina Hurricanes at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Erik ColeCody EakinRich Peverley
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Ray WhitneyShawn HorcoffAlex Chiasson

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennBrenden Dillon
Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

Hurricanes projected lineup

Jiri Tlusty – Eric Staal – Alexander Semin
Nathan Gerbe – Jordan Staal – Pat Dwyer
Jeff Skinner – Riley Nash – Tuomo Ruutu
Drayson Bowman – Manny Malhotra – Elias Lindholm

Justin Faulk – Andrei Sekera
John-Michael Liles – Ron Hainsey
Brett Bellemore – Jay Harrison

Anton Khudobin
Cam Ward

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 35 22 8 5 101 96 49
2 CHI 33 22 9 2 102 67 46
3 STL 33 21 9 3 100 81 45
4 NSH 31 21 8 2 87 64 44
5 SJS 34 19 11 4 97 87 42
6 VAN 32 19 11 2 92 90 40
7 WPG 33 17 10 6 80 76 40
8 LAK 34 17 11 6 94 84 40
9 CGY 35 17 15 3 100 95 37
10 MIN 31 16 12 3 91 84 35
11 DAL 31 13 13 5 89 104 31
12 COL 32 11 13 8 83 100 30
13 ARI 32 11 17 4 74 104 26
14 EDM 33 7 20 6 69 110 20

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Seguin 31 23 16 7 39
J. Benn 31 9 19 1 28
J. Spezza 31 6 18 -9 24
T. Daley 31 7 9 -13 16
A. Roussel 31 7 9 -3 16
C. Eakin 28 6 7 5 13
A. Goligoski 31 1 12 2 13
S. Horcoff 31 4 7 0 11
E. Cole 30 5 5 -5 10
R. Garbutt 23 5 5 -5 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 13 7 5 .907 2.89
A. Lindback 0 5 0 .861 4.63
 
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