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At the Rink: Stars at Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg /

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Dallas Stars will keep their lineup intact when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-CR).

Kari Lehtonen, who made 36 saves in a 5-3 defeat of the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, will make his sixth start in goal.

"I thought he [Lehtonen] really fought hard to keep us in the game and give us a chance," said Dallas coach Lindy Ruff. "I think we're waiting to see with this trial-and-error situation with the goaltenders. I just told them that I want them both to play well."

Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are tied for the League lead with 20 points, giving the Stars a formidable 1-2 punch. A stronger commitment to defensive play has given the Stars an edge they didn't have last season.

"Last year we wanted to outscore teams every night," Seguin said. "This year we're playing better defense and letting our offense take over from there. When we want to compete every night there's not many teams that can compete with us."

Ruff said he wants the Stars to take advantage of a young Hurricanes blue line. The Hurricanes defense corps against the Stars will include Ryan Murphy, 22; Brett Pesce, 20; and Noah Hanifin, 18.

"Their structure is real good and they're playing the way they need to play to win hockey games," Ruff said of the Hurricanes. "[But] they've got a young defense that … we can get in there and try to dominate if we do the right things."

The Hurricanes will try to regain the form that led them to a three-game winning streak prior to a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 1. During their break, the Hurricanes focused on improving their special-teams play.

"What we did this week is for the month of November, it's not just for the [Stars]," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We're not exactly thrilled with where we're at with our power-play performance to date."

Carolina ranks 26th in the League on the power play at 11.6 percent. Peters indicated he may opt to do more than fine-tune his system.

"We auditioned different guys in those situations," Peters said. "They understand the expectations on the power play and the privilege it is to be on the power play. The guys who are sitting on the bench want that opportunity too."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Jason Spezza

Mattias Janmark - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp

Antoine Roussel - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers

Jyrki Jokipakka - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body), Curtis McKenzie (hip), Travis Moen (upper body), Ales Hemsky (hip)

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak


Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm

Nathan Gerbe - Victor Rask - Kris Versteeg

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Chris Terry

Brock McGinn - Jay McClement - Andrej Nestrasil

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - Ryan Murphy

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee)

Scratched: Michal Jordan, Brad Malone

Status update: Hemsky took the morning skate but will miss his second straight game. … Ward will start in goal against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. ... Carolina forward Joakim Nordstrom, who missed nine games with a lower-body injury, was sent to Charlotte of the American Hockey League.

Who's hot: Benn and Seguin each have four goals and 10 points in the past six games. ... Sharp has four goals and two assists in his past five games. ... Versteeg has five points in the past two games.

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