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At the Rink blog

Stajan returns for Flames; Connauton debuts for Stars

Thursday, 10.24.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Stajan returns for Flames; Connauton debuts for Stars

DALLAS -- The Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars will make several changes to their respective lineups for their game Thursday here at American Airlines Center.

For Calgary, Matt Stajan will return to the ice for the first time since Oct. 3, while for Dallas defenseman Kevin Connauton will make his NHL debut with Alex Goligoski a healthy scratch.

Stajan has missed the Flames' past eight games with a leg injury but likely will be on a line with Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak against the Stars.

"The old linemates will be reunited: Stajan, [Glencross and Stempniak], three guys that have pretty good chemistry together. I'm expecting a big game out of those three guys," Flames coach Bob Hartley said after the morning skate.

With Stajan back on the ice, Sven Baertschi likely will be scratched. Calgary captain Mark Giordano, who missed a 4-2 loss at the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday with an undisclosed injury, again will be a game-time decision.

"He's going to be a game-time decision again [Thursday]. I can't say more right now," Hartley said.

Karri Ramo will get the start in net for Calgary and Tim Jackman likely will skate on the fourth line for the Flames after being scratched in each of their past two games.

Connauton was acquired by Dallas from the Vancouver Canucks in April as part of the Derek Roy trade.

"I think I just got to get a couple shifts under me there and keep things simple," Connauton said. "I know I'll probably have a couple jitters. Make an easy play off the wall and short passes is kind of a good way to calm down."

Goligoski is currently a minus-10 through eight games, the second-worst rating in the League, and even though Stars coach Lindy Ruff is sitting him, he has by no means lost faith in Goligoski and what he can do for the club going forward.

"I had a real good conversation with him, just that I wanted to improve some of his defending. There's been some good in his game which I talked about," Ruff said. "He's had a great attitude, even a great attitude [Wednesday]. I want him to work hard, get back in and play well."

Kari Lehtonen will get the start in net for Dallas, his first after missing the Stars' past five games with a lower-body injury.

Stars defenseman Aaron Rome cleared waivers on Thursday but remains with the team.

Here are the projected lineups for the Flames and Stars:

FLAMES

Curtis Glencross - Matt Stajan - Lee Stempniak

Jiri Hudler - Sean Monahan - Mike Cammalleri

TJ Galiardi - Mikael Backlund - David Jones

Lance Bouma - Joe Colborne - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Christopher Breen - Shane O'Brien

Karri Ramo

Joey MacDonald

Scratched: Sven Baertschi, Roman Horak, Brian McGrattan

Injured: Mark Giordano (undisclosed)

STARS

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Rich Peverley

Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson

Valeri Nichushkin - Shawn Horcoff - Erik Cole

Lane MacDermid - Vernon Fiddler - Antoine Roussel

Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas

Trevor Daley - Jordie Benn

Kevin Connauton - Sergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Scratched: Alex Goligoski, Aaron Rome

Suspended: Ryan Garbutt

Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares