Veteran right wing Radek Dvorak
, who has missed eight of the Stars' last 11 games with a lower-body injury, will return to the lineup on Thursday against the Predators, as Dallas sits on the brink of elimination.
A regulation loss will elimination the Stars. They need, at a minimum, three points in their final two games combined with two regulation losses by San Jose to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While it might seem like a 35-year-old with only 4 goals and 17 assists in 72 games might not be the most important cog for the Stars, the team has gone 2-6 in the eight games Dvorak has missed and 2-1 in the three he has played over the last 11. He skates on a line centered by Vernon Fiddler
with Eric Nystrom
on the left. The trio has proved an effective combination.
"We play similar style," Dvorak said. "We try to be energy for our lineup. We play a simple game. We try to put pressure always on the opposing team's lines, which means get the puck deep, get in on the forecheck, cycle the puck. We have a lot of speed, so we usually get the puck first and that's how you gain the zone. That's our game."
Here's the projected lineup for Dallas:
- Mike Ribeiro
- Loui Eriksson
- Jamie Benn
- Michael Ryder
- Vernon Fiddler
- Radek Dvorak
- Tom Wandell
- Adam Burish
- Stephane Robidas
- Trevor Daley
- Philip Larsen