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At the Rink: Capitals at Stars

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- With veteran defenseman Trevor Daley and rookie right wing Brett Ritchie each sidelined with undisclosed injuries, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff made some tweaks to his lineup ahead of the game at American Airlines Center on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals.

Daley, right wing Ales Hemsky and Ritchie missed practice on Friday, but Hemsky is likely to play in his customary spot on the right side of the second line alongside left wing Erik Cole and center Jason Spezza.

With Daley out, David Schlemko, claimed off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 3, is the likely choice to replace Daley alongside Jamie Oleksiak in the Stars’ third defensive pairing.

Dallas (19-17-7) hopes to finish a three-game homestand with a win after losing 2-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. The Stars held an optional morning skate on Saturday and didn’t have line rushes.

On Saturday morning, the Stars placed Ritchie on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and left wing Curtis McKenzie from Texas of the American Hockey League.

“There is a chance we may see one (of them play tonight),” Ruff said of Jokipakka and McKenzie. “It’s a possibility.”

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice and will make his first start for Dallas since being pulled in the second period on Tuesday after allowing three goals on his first five shots against the Ottawa Senators.

Backup goaltender Anders Lindback made 34 saves against the Senators in a 5-4 win against Dallas. Lindback also started against Winnipeg on Thursday, but Lehtonen will make his 37th start of the season against the Capitals.

Dallas center Vernon Fiddler will also likely return to the fourth line after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury.

“We have to find points, as many points as we can over this next stretch here (of three games),” Fiddler said. “Going into this break it would be nice to get catch some ground, so when we get back from the break we are right in the mix.”

Washington (24-12-8) did not skate since the Capitals lost 4-3 at the Nashville Predators on Friday. However, it appears that backup goaltender Justin Peters will start over Braden Holtby against Dallas, Peters’ first start since Nov. 29 at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromAndre Burakovsky

Marcus JohanssonEvgeny KuznetsovTroy Brouwer

Brooks LaichMichael LattaJoel Ward

Jason ChimeraJay BeagleTom Wilson

Brooks OrpikJohn Carlson

Karl AlznerMatt Niskanen

Jack HillenMike Green

Justin Peters

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Steve Oleksy.

Injured: John Erskine (neck), Eric Fehr (lower body), Dmitry Orlov (wrist), Aaron Volpatti (neck).


Jamie BennTyler SeguinColton Sceviour

Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt

Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerTravis Moen

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Jordie BennJason Demers

David SchlemkoJamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Curtis McKenzie.

Injured: Trevor Daley (undisclosed), Patrick Eaves (ankle), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Brett Ritchie (undisclosed).

Status report: With Ritchie going on injured reserve, Sceviour is the likely choice to replace him on the top line alongside Benn and Seguin. … Fiddler’s likely return moves Horcoff from centering the fourth line to the left side of that line alongside Fiddler and Moen.

Who’s hot: Ovechkin had two goals Friday at Nashville, giving him eight goals in his past nine games. … Roussel has five points (three goals) over his past six home games.

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