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At the Rink: Stars at Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The Dallas Stars' push for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has taken a major hit. General manager Jim Nill said center Tyler Seguin could miss 3-6 weeks to recover from a knee injury.

Dallas (26-21-8) will also be without forwards Patrick Eaves (concussion) and Ales Hemsky (lower body) when they play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Seguin, Eaves and Hemsky were injured Friday in the Stars' 2-0 win against the Florida Panthers. Another forward, Antoine Roussel, will complete a two-game suspension for cross-checking Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid on Tuesday.

Seguin and Eaves were placed on injured reserve Saturday.

The Stars, who are three points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference, called up forwards Travis Morin and Brett Ritchie from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and they will play against the Avalanche.

"We've got a couple bodies coming up that are looking to play and we've got some guys playing well who are looking for more ice time," coach Lindy Ruff said. "I still think we're in pretty good shape. We've got some good players who are going to go in those spots. They might be younger and we're definitely going to miss the players that were there, but it's going to be a great opportunity for some other guys to play some key roles and I feel they can do it."

Goalie Jhonas Enroth, who was acquired Thursday from the Buffalo Sabres, will make his Stars debut.

"I think he's wrapping his arms around the opportunity," Ruff said. "I think the guys would really like to pull together and play well in front of him. We haven't had a lot of luck here and maybe he can help us get a win."

Ruff said he expects NHL officials to "deal with" the hit by Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov that injured Seguin, who is the League's third-leading scorer with 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games.

"It was a dirty, low play," Ruff said. "He took out one of the best players in the League."

Ruff said he would "sort out" his line combinations by game time, but said Jason Spezza would take over Seguin's place as the Stars' No. 1 center and possibly skate with Erik Cole and Ritchie.

The Avalanche (22-22-11) have lost four games in a row and are eight points behind the Flames for the final wild-card spot in the West.

"A lot of people are counting us out, but I think we can win some games against teams that are competing against us because we have a lot of them coming up," center Matt Duchene said. "Those are big games and you never know what can happen. We're still in it."

Here are the projected lineups:


Erik Cole - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie

Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Vernon Fiddler

Curtis McKenzie - Colton Sceviour - Travis Morin

Travis Moen- Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Garbutt

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Jyrki Jokipakka - Trevor Daley

Jordie Benn - Jason Demers

Jhonas Enroth

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: David Schlemko

Suspended: Antoine Roussel

Injured: Patrick Eaves (concussion), Ales Hemsky (lower body), Patrik Nemeth (arm laceration), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Tyler Seguin (knee)


Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Nathan MacKinnon

Maxime Talbot - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla

Alex Tanguay - John Mitchell - Dennis Everberg

Cody McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Paul Carey

Jan Hejda - Zach Redmond

Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie

Nick Holden - Brad Stuart

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Scratched: Daniel Briere, Stefan Elliott

Injured: Patrick Bordeleau (fractured kneecap), Erik Johnson (knee), Jamie McGinn (back surgery), Borna Rendulic (broken leg), Ryan Wilson (shoulder), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Status report: Ruff said Eaves, who was hit in the face by a puck Friday, didn't sustain any facial fractures. Hemsky was being examined by a doctor Saturday and could return early next week ... The Avalanche will tinker with their lines, moving Tanguay to a unit with Mitchell and Everberg, and using Talbot on a line with Duchene and Iginla.

Who's hot: Benn has three goals in his past two games. ... Spezza has two goals and four assists in his past four games... Cole has two goals and one assist in the past three games... Iginla has one goal and three assists in the past two games... Duchene has one goal and two assists in his past two games.

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