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Horcoff returns for Stars against Ottawa

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- After missing the past four games with a broken finger, Dallas Stars center Shawn Horcoff will return to the ice on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators at American Airlines Center.

"It looks like he's going to play," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said in a short pregame media session.

Horcoff will likely center Dallas' fourth line alongside left wing Ray Whitney and rookie right wing Valeri Nichushkin. While Horcoff will play, veteran left wing Erik Cole, who did not practice on Friday, and rookie right wing Alex Chiasson, who left practice early, will be game-time decisions.

After practice on Friday, Ruff said Cole was fine and that he was just given a maintenance day. But Chiasson left the practice rink early with an undisclosed injury.

"We don't know on him," Ruff said about Chiasson's status. "And we don't know on Cole yet."

Goalie Kari Lehtonen is likely to start for Dallas.

Ruff also has a decision to make with third defensive pairing. It will be either rookie Kevin Connauton or veteran Aaron Rome who skates alongside Sergei Gonchar against Ottawa.

Dallas is currently on a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) and Ruff didn't mince words when asked what he'd like to see from his team.

"I'd like to see us stay out of the penalty box, for sure. I think we've taken some penalties early that gave the teams some momentum," Ruff said. "I'd like to see some good zone time, some good offensive zone time where we've gotten in there and challenged their goalie."

Goaltender Robin Lehner will start for Ottawa, which has dropped five straight.

Due to the early start time, neither team had a morning skate on Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups for the Senators and Stars:


Milan MichalekJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Clarke MacArthurKyle TurrisBobby Ryan

Mike HoffmanMika ZibanejadErik Condra

Colin GreeningZack SmithChris Neil

Marc MethotErik Karlsson

Chris PhillipsCody Ceci

Jared CowenEric Gryba

Robin Lehner

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Matt Kassian, Patrick Wiercioch.

Injured: Craig Anderson (shoulder), Nathan Lawson (lower body), Mark Stone (arm).


Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlex Chiasson

Erik ColeCody Eakin - Colton Sceviour

Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt

Ray Whitney - Shawn HorcoffValeri Nichushkin

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Jordie BennBrenden Dillon

Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen

Tim Thomas

Scratched: Chris Mueller, Aaron Rome.

Injured: Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat).

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