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Preview: Stars at Hurricanes

Carolina hopes to keep pushing in wild-card race; Forwards Ales Hemsky, Curtis McKenzie out for Dallas

by Kurt Dusterberg / Correspondent

STARS (31-35-11) at HURRICANES (35-27-14)

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


Stars team scope

The Dallas Stars will be without forwards Ales Hemsky and Curtis McKenzie and defenseman Jamie Oleksiak when they play the fourth game of a five-game road trip. Hemsky, who took part in the morning skate, has a hip injury that forced him to leave the Stars 2-0 loss against the Boston Bruins on Thursday. McKenzie suffered a cut below the eye after a high stick in the same game and did not make the trip to Carolina. Oleksiak sustained a lower-body injury when he blocked a shot against the Bruins. The Stars recalled forwards Gemel Smith and Justin Dowling from Texas of the American Hockey League. Smith had two goals in a 12-game stint with Dallas early in the season; Dowling has played five NHL games this season. "Both guys have been up before and played well for us," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Smith has good speed and scored a few goals for us when we had guys out of the lineup. Dowling didn't play as much, but he's a creative guy in the middle. The games he did play, I thought he played well."


Hurricanes team scope

Goaltender Cam Ward will start for the Carolina Hurricanes, who are four points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes have one game in hand on the Bruins but have six fewer regulation/overtime wins. Carolina has earned points in a Hurricanes record 13 straight games (9-0-4) to surge back into the playoff picture. "We've just got to worry about tonight and find a way to get off to a better start than our last two games at home, so that's our focus the first 10 minutes," coach Bill Peters said. The Hurricanes have relied heavily on the line of Jeff Skinner, Derek Ryan and Lee Stempniak recently, but Peters said he plans to juggle lines to get the rest of his forwards producing. "Everything else has been a mixed bag," Peters said. "We've had different line combinations other than the Ryan line, and that's due to the fact that somebody's not going. So if somebody's got some extra jump and he looks like he's going to have a night, we're going to bump him up." The Hurricanes are averaging 3.61 goals per game during the 13-game point streak.


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Devin Shore

Remi Elie -- Cody Eakin -- Jason Spezza

Gemel Smith -- Radek Faksa -- Adam Cracknell

Justin Dowling -- Jason Dickinson -- Brett Ritchie

Dan Hamhuis -- John Klingberg

Esa Lindell -- Julius Honka

Stephen Johns -- Greg Pateryn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth

Injured: Ales Hemsky (hip), Curtis McKenzie (upper body), Jamie Oleksiak (lower body), Patrick Sharp (hip), Jiri Hudler (lower body), Antoine Roussel (hand), Mattias Janmark (knee)


Hurricanes projected lineup

Sebastian Aho -- Jordan Staal -- Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom -- Victor Rask -- Teuvo Teravainen

Brock McGinn -- Lucas Wallmark -- Philip Di Giuseppe

Jaccob Slavin -- Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin -- Justin Faulk

Klas Dahlbeck -- Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Scratched: None

Injured: Jay McClement (lower body), Ryan Murphy (lower body)


Status report

Lack took part in the morning skate and will back up Ward. Lack was stretchered off the ice after sustaining a neck strain on the overtime goal by Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou on Monday. Lack may start against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, Peters said. … Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was re-assigned to Florida of the ECHL.


Who's hot

Skinner has 12 points (nine goals, three assists) in a nine-game point streak. … Lindholm has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his past 13 games. … Aho has nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past nine games.

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