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Preview: Stars at Blue Jackets

Dan Hamhuis in lineup for Dallas; Ryan Murray returns from injury for Columbus

by Craig Merz / Correspondent

STARS (3-4-1) at BLUE JACKETS (3-3-1)

7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-SW, NHL.TV


Stars team scope

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who signed with the Dallas Stars as an unrestricted free agent July 1, will return to the lineup Tuesday after being a healthy scratch Saturday in a 4-0 loss against the Minnesota Wild when Stephen Johns returned from an injury. "I went and talked to [Hamhuis]," coach Lindy Ruff said Tuesday. "Those aren't easy conversations. Understandably you've got an upset player, but it's a strong message and it's a message that needs to be carried that it's not good enough. To a man he admitted his play wasn't up to where it should be." Hamhuis will replace Patrik Nemeth. "He isn't getting scratched for poor play," Ruff said. "He's getting scratched because we're putting Dan back in. We need Dan to be a big part of where we're going." The Stars have been hit hard by injuries and announced Monday that forward Ales Hemsky will be out 5-6 months after he had hip surgery for an injury sustained playing for Team Czech Republic during the World Cup of Hockey 2016. "He brings a special skill set and speed," forward Patrick Eaves said. "We'll miss him as a person in the locker room and as a player. It [surgery] will give him peace of mind. You could tell he was uncomfortable when he was playing." The Stars continue to be without injured forwards Patrick Sharp and Cody Eakins, but each could return this month. "The mentality now is find a different way because there's been a lot of injuries, been a lot of pieces in and out," Ruff said.


Blue Jackets team scope

Defenseman Ryan Murray returns to the lineup after missing the past four games. Murray, who played all 82 games last season, missed the second game this season after blocking a shot in the Columbus Blue Jackets' opener against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 13. In the third game he sustained a head injury after a check by Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks and missed the four-game road trip during which the Blue Jackets went 2-1-1. "He thinks the game," coach John Tortorella said. "He's another defenseman that can get up the ice. He's a guy that as far as we're trying to play, get out of our end zone right away, he fits that." Murray understands his role with the Blue Jackets. "It's trying to make good decisions when you're out there, moving pucks up and playing my game," he said. "It's taking good risks when they're there." Dalton Prout will come out of the lineup to make room for Murray. "[Prout] played really well," Tortorella said. "It's just the depth chart right now. He's our No. 7 [defenseman]. We're healthy with our six and we'll stay with them."


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel -- Radek Faksa -- Jason Spezza

Lauri Korpikoski -- Devin Shore -- Brett Ritchie

Curtis McKenzie -- Adam Cracknell -- Jiri Hudler

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya -- Stephen Johns

Dan Hamhuis -- Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Gemel Smith

Injured: Ales Hemsky (hip), Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee)


Blue Jackets projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Alexander Wennberg -- Nick Foligno

Matt Calvert -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Josh Anderson

Boone Jenner -- William Karlsson -- Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell -- Lukas Sedlak -- Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski -- Seth Jones

Ryan Murray -- Jack Johnson

Markus Nutivaara -- David Savard

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Scott Harrington

Injured: David Clarkson (back)


Status report

Niemi is expected to start after Lehtonen made 11 saves and allowed four goals against Minnesota. ... Harrington has yet to play this season. "You don't have to worry about him," Tortorella said. "That's one thing that endeared him to us. He pushes himself through the inactivity of not playing games and keeps himself ready.


Who's hot

Seguin leads the Stars with seven points (four goals, three assists). … Bobrovsky has two shutouts in the past four games. … Wennberg has seven points (six assists) in seven games. … Gagner and Saad each scored twice in a 4-0 win at the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

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