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At the Rink: Jets at Stars

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are 4-0-1 in their past five games at American Airlines Center, but coach Lindy Ruff would like to see them break out for their first Central Division win (0-6-3) Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets.

"Every game's important for us right now," Ruff said after the morning skate. "We took a good step in the right direction again [with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday]. I think it's just becoming a consistent team where we're not two steps forward and two back. We got to win games. It doesn't matter if it's Central Division. You name it, we have to win games."

Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from the win Saturday against Montreal, a victory which snapped a three-game losing streak.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice for Dallas and will start his second straight game and 23rd of the season.

Stars center Tyler Seguin continues to pace the NHL with 21 goals and is tied with Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby for the League lead in points with 35. Seguin is one player the Jets will be highly aware of Tuesday.

"I've always found him to be a very creative player and he's got people to play with now to complement him in that role," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "[He's] so dangerous. If you score 21 [goals] over the course of a season, you're a good player. If you can do that before the 30-game mark, you're a great player."

Tuesday marks the start of the two-game suspension for Jets left wing Evander Kane, who was sanctioned for boarding Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner during a 4-3 overtime loss on Sunday.

With Kane out, Maurice shuffled his lines, assembling a second line of left wing Mathieu Perreault, center Mark Scheifele and right wing Michael Frolik.

"We rely on him," Maurice said of Kane. "He is certainly a bit of an identity player for us. He's big, he's fast. He gets in on the forecheck and he finishes his checks so we're going to miss that."

Winnipeg's third line will consist of left wing Chris Thorburn, center Adam Lowry and right wing Matt Halischuk.

The other big change comes on the fourth line, where TJ Galiardi will play on the left side with center Jim Slater and right wing Anthony Peluso.

Galiardi has been a healthy scratch for Winnipeg's past 11 games and last played on Nov. 13 at the Carolina Hurricanes.

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson was first off the ice for Winnipeg and will make his 10th start of the season.

Here are the projected lineups:

JETS

Andrew LaddBryan LittleBlake Wheeler

Mathieu PerreaultMark Scheifele - Michael Frolik

Chris Thorburn - Adam LowryMatt Halischuk

TJ GaliardiJim SlaterAnthony Peluso

Mark StuartJacob Trouba

Ben ChiarotDustin Byfuglien

Adam PardyPaul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: Julien Brouillette, Patrice Cormier

Suspended: Evander Kane

Injured: Zach Bogosian (lower body), Grant Clitsome (upper body), Tobias Enstrom (lower body)

STARS

Jamie BennTyler SeguinColton Sceviour

Curtis McKenzieJason SpezzaErik Cole

Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt

Shawn HorcoffVernon Fiddler - Travis Moen

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Jordie BennJason Demers

Jamie OleksiakJohn Klingberg

Kari Lehtonen

Jussi Rynnas

Scratched: Ales Hemsky, Jyrki Jokipakka

Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin)

Status report: With Galiardi returning, Brouillette and Cormier are the likely scratches. … Hemsky is a healthy scratch for the second straight game and third time this season.

Who's hot: Byfuglien has scored in four straight games, a streak dating back to Nov. 28, equaling a career-best. … Eakin has six points (three goals) in his past five home games.

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