ST. LOUIS -- The Dallas Stars, who enter tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues having dropped two of their previous three games, will have their mettle tested now that they will be playing without two of their three top scorers and top two centermen.
Mike Ribeiro (knee) will miss his fourth consecutive game and the Stars will now be without leading scorer Jamie Benn, who had an appendectomy on Sunday and is sidelined indefinitely.
Benn has 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 43 games, while Ribeiro is third on the team with 10 goals and 31 points in 40 games.
"You don't wish it, but it's like anything, it's life. You can't control it," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "You just hope that Benny's OK and he is this morning. ... When you take your top two centermen out of your lineup, it forces you to play a certain way. Maybe this is a little bit of a blessing in disguise, because our team needed to play a certain way more consistently and now they're going to have to. If we come out of this stronger, that's what you always hope when you have injuries and these guys acclimate themselves back.
"It wasn't a kick in the gut or anything. You just deal with it one day at a time."
What it does is give other players an opportunity to step into the lineup and fill those roles. The Stars have recalled winger Francis Wathier from AHL Texas and he will be in the lineup tonight.
"They are really huge for our team," Stars winger Loui Eriksson said of Benn and Ribeiro, who has an MCL tear. "There's not much we can do about it. We've just got to keep working harder and some other guys are going to get some opportunities and get some chances. We still have a good team. We know where we are in the standings."