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At the Rink: Senators at Stars

by Steve Hunt /

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars start a three-game homestand Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators on a four-game losing streak (0-2-2), but Dallas coach Lindy Ruff is happy to be home, where the Stars are 8-3-1 in their past 12 on home ice.

"I think it [recent home success] starts with defending," Ruff said. "When you're playing a game that's not loose and you're tight in your own end and you've got people coming back and we're not giving up easy opportunities, it's been our best hockey.

Dallas (18-16-7) captain Jamie Benn (undisclosed), center Vernon Fiddler (lower body) and center Tyler Seguin (illness) missed practice Monday but all three participated in morning skate and at least two of them will play against the Senators.

"They all seem to be doing a lot better so we'll dress an extra guy for warm-up and make sure that everybody's a full go," Ruff said. "A couple that I think ready to go and one that's still in doubt."

Tuesday will mark the first game for Stars center Jason Spezza against Ottawa since the Senators traded him to Dallas last July. He said facing his former team in Dallas will be different than when the Stars play at Ottawa on Jan. 29.

"It'll be different [Tuesday], being on the other side, but it's long enough into the season now where I'm a Dallas Star and I feel like this is my team," Spezza said. "It'll be different going back to Ottawa. I think it'll probably be a little more nostalgic, but here it's more a good opportunity to catch up and looking forward to trying to get a win tonight."

Ruff said he would try to keep his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from a 4-3 loss at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice and will start a third consecutive game for Dallas.

Ottawa (17-16-8) ended a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) with a 5-1 win at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. Even though Senators coach Dave Cameron isn't a big believer in momentum, there were plenty of positives from that win that he wants to see carried forward.

"I know all the good things that we did in that game we highlighted, we practiced and we showed on video," Cameron said. "Usually when you win you feel good and that's what you want to build on. I know they call it momentum, but certainly when you win it's easier to get back in the saddle."

Cameron said he will keep his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from the win against the Coyotes. The only change will be in goal, where Robin Lehner will start.

Tuesday will be a homecoming of sorts for Senators right wing Alex Chiasson, who played 86 games for the Stars before being traded to Ottawa in the Spezza trade last summer. It's a return he is relishing.

"Mixed emotions for sure," Chiasson said. "I didn't think it was going to be like that. I thought it was going to be just any regular road game. I honestly didn't get much sleep last night. This organization really gave me my first chance, and as a player you have to appreciate that."

Here are the projected lineups:


Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Alex Chiasson

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Milan Michalek - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Curtis Lazar

Erik Condra - David Legwand - Mark Stone

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Chris Phillips - Eric Gryba

Robin Lehner

Craig Anderson

Scratched: Colin Greening, Patrick Wiercioch

Injured: Mark Borowiecki (leg), Chris Neil (knee), Zack Smith (wrist)


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Brett Ritchie

Erik Cole - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky

Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Ryan Garbutt

Shawn Horcoff - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

David Schlemko - Trevor Daley

Jordie Benn - Jason Demers

Kari Lehtonen

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Travis Moen, Jamie Oleksiak

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

Status report: Greening and Wiercioch are the likely scratches for a second straight game. … Moen and Oleksiak will likely be scratched for a second consecutive game.

Who’s hot: Hoffman leads the Senators with seven road goals. … Garbutt and Roussel each have four-game point streaks.

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