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Preview: Stars at Devils

Dallas tries to keep slim playoff hopes alive

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

STARS (30-33-11) at DEVILS (27-35-12)

5 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-SW, NHL.TV

 

Stars team scope

The Dallas Stars, winners of two of their past three games (2-0-1), open a five-game road trip 15 points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with eight games remaining. "We are not where we expected to be at this point in the season," forward Radek Faksa said. "That's the frustrating part, because we have so much talent on this team and are not in a playoff spot. But it is what it is and we just have to focus on each game down the stretch, play our best and you never know what can happen." Forward Patrick Sharp will have season-ending hip surgery on Tuesday. "It's tough to make that decision to sit out and get healthy, but I think it is the right thing to do." Sharp told the Stars website. Sharp, who is the Masterton Trophy nominee for Dallas, is expected to return to the ice in 4-5 months. An unrestricted free agent on July 1, he had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 48 games this season. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who was first off the ice after the morning skate, is expected to start. Lehtonen is 10-6-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 17 games against the New Jersey Devils.

 

Devils team scope

The Devils, 2-12-2 in their past 16 games, lost 3-1 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday and were eliminated from playoff contention. "It's one more year, one less chance to try and win, and it's no fun," captain Andy Greene, the Masterton Trophy nominee for the Devils, said on Saturday. "We work, we train, all summer, all year long to fight for a playoff spot and get in, so when you don't it's disappointing. We have no one to blame but ourselves. It's never fun when you don't make the playoffs, regardless of the year." Green is expected to play in his 700th career NHL game. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid will make his fourth start in the past six games and his first career start against the Stars. Left wing Taylor Hall is tied for the Devils lead with 50 points (18 goals, 32 assists), a mark he has reached five times in his seven NHL seasons.

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Ales Hemsky

Remi Elie -- Tyler Seguin -- Brett Ritchie

Curtis McKenzie -- Jason Spezza -- Adam Cracknell

Jason Dickinson -- Radek Faksa -- Devin Shore

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Greg Pateryn

Patrik Nemeth -- Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Jiri Hudler

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Patrick Sharp (hip)

 

Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Travis Zajac -- Kyle Palmieri

Joseph Blandisi -- Adam Henrique -- Beau Bennett

John Quenneville -- Pavel Zacha -- Stefan Noesen

Miles Wood -- Blake Coleman -- Blake Pietila

Andy Greene -- Ben Lovejoy

Jon Merrill -- Steven Santini

John Moore -- Damon Severson

Keith Kinkaid

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Dalton Prout

Injured: Jacob Josefson (upper body), Michael Cammalleri (upper body), Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body)

 

Status report

The Stars recalled Dickinson from Texas of the American Hockey League on Saturday. ... The Devils did not have a morning skate.

 

Who's hot

Benn has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past 14 games. ... Spezza has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past 10 games. ... Palmieri has 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in his past 16 games. ... Hall has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past eight games.

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