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At the Rink: Jets at Stars

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com

DALLAS -- Two nights after making 34 saves in relief of Kari Lehtonen, it appears backup goaltender Anders Lindback will start at American Airlines Center on Thursday for the Dallas Stars against the Winnipeg Jets.

Lindback was first off the ice for Dallas at morning skate and Stars coach Lindy Ruff wouldn’t say if he was starting on Thursday, but Lindback said he is prepared to make his sixth start of the season.

“You prepare a little different when you know you are going to be in net. You don’t stay as long on the ice (at morning skate),” Lindback said. “I try to approach it the same way because you never know when it is going to happen. You’ve got to be ready all the time, but obviously is a little different when you know you are going to play.”

Dallas (19-16-7) beat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on Tuesday and Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from that game.

That means Vernon Fiddler, who missed his first game on Tuesday since March 2014 with a lower-body injury, could miss a second straight game although Ruff said Fiddler, who centers the Stars fourth line, is available.

“Vern’s doing pretty good. He’s available for tonight,” Ruff said.

Winnipeg (22-14-8) coach Paul Maurice is also making a change in goal, giving the start to Andrej Pavelec after Michael Hutchinson started and made 25 saves in the 8-2 victory against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

“He (Pavelec) played really well in Anaheim and he feels good about his game,” Maurice said. “I think the rotation sets up right for him.”

Pavelec was first off the ice for the Jets at morning skate.

Neither Evander Kane nor Bryan Little participated in morning skate, but Maurice said both will play against Dallas.

“Both those guys will be in tonight; no problems. We don’t have optional skates here,” Maurice said. “At the same time, with the amount of hockey that we’re playing, they don’t need to put the equipment on if it’s not going to make them better.”

Maurice is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from that victory against the Panthers two nights ago.

Here are the projected lineups:

JETS

Andrew LaddBryan LittleBlake Wheeler

Mathieu PerreaultMark ScheifeleMichael Frolik

Evander KaneAdam LowryMatt Halischuk

Chris ThorburnJim SlaterAnthony Peluso

Tobias EnstromZach Bogosian

Ben ChiarotDustin Byfuglien

Mark StuartJay Harrison

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: TJ Galiardi, Adam Pardy, Paul Postma.

Injured: Grant Clitsome (upper body), Jacob Trouba (upper body).

STARS

Jamie BennTyler SeguinBrett Ritchie

Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt

Travis Moen - Shawn HorcoffColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakTrevor Daley

Jordie BennJason Demers

Anders Lindback

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: David Schlemko.

Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Vernon Fiddler (lower body), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip).

Status report: Maurice said Trouba (upper body) is making progress and should return right after the All-Star break. … Ruff offered a similar assessment on Eaves (ankle), saying he is on track to return in about a week, or for the first game after the break.

Who’s hot: Perrault has more goals (15) than any other player in the NHL since Nov. 18. … Cole has five points (three assists) over his past five home games.

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