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Preview: Stars at Flames

Goaltender Brian Elliott to start for Calgary; Dallas captain Jamie Benn questionable with upper-body injury

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

STARS (28-32-10) at FLAMES (39-27-4)

9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-SW+, NHL.TV


Stars team scope

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn is questionable after not playing in the third period of a 4-2 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday because of an upper-body injury. "We will assess him for [Friday]'s game in the morning," coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday; the Stars did not hold a morning skate Friday. Benn, who is second on Dallas in scoring with 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists), left the game after a fight with 6-foot-7, 265-pound Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin with 3:29 left in the second period. Dallas is 13 points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with 12 games remaining. "We're not going to quit and Jamie is an extreme competitor," forward Jason Spezza said Thursday. "He's still engaged in the games and he's our leader and we are leaders of the team and we are responsible for what has happened, so we have to show emotion down the stretch. You don't like seeing him get hurt but you like seeing the response and that emotion and it makes the guys want to play hard for him." Forward Patrick Sharp needs one point for 600 in his NHL career.


Flames team scope

Goaltender Brian Elliott will return for the Calgary Flames after missing a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday that ended a franchise-tying 10-game winning streak. Elliott, out because of illness, had won nine games with a 1.74 goals-against average and .943 save percentage during Calgary's streak. "He was unbelievable, and I think he's a big part of why we are where we are now," forward Michael Frolik said. Hopefully he can keep it going. Hopefully the sickness doesn't hurt him much. He bounced back quickly." Elliott is 25 minutes away from playing 20,000 in his NHL career. The Flames, who hold the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, trail the Edmonton Oilers by one point for third place in the Pacific Division, and are two points behind the second-place Anaheim Ducks. "[The streak]'s over now and we just need to do it again," Frolik said. "We have to put it behind us and just focus on tonight's game. Hopefully it'll bounce our way and we can be ready for tonight." Defenseman Michael Stone, who has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury, also will return. "I feel good," Stone said. "You obviously still have some minor things, but I think everybody does here this time of year. Those are things you just play through."


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin

Remi Elie -- Cody Eakin -- Ales Hemsky

Curtis McKenzie -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Adam Cracknell -- Devin Shore -- Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Stephen Johns

Patrik Nemeth -- Jamie Oleksiak

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Greg Pateryn

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Alex Chiasson

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman



Status report

The Flames held an optional skate Friday. … Niemi could start for the Stars after Kari Lehtonen made 26 saves to help Dallas end a three-game losing streak. … Hudler, who spent parts of three seasons with the Flames, could play if Benn is not able to. Hudler has been a healthy scratch the past five games. … Wideman is expected to be a healthy scratch with Stone back in the lineup.


Who's hot

Klingberg has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games. … Spezza has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past eight games. … Gaudreau has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in his past 11 games. … Monahan has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games.

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