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Preview: Devils at Stars

New Jersey without top scorer Taylor Hall; forward Jason Spezza returns for Dallas

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

DEVILS (8-3-3) at STARS (6-6-4)

8:30 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-SW, NHL.TV


Devils team scope

Forward Taylor Hall, the New Jersey Devils' top scorer, won't play because of a lower-body injury. Coach John Hynes said Hall showed up to the rink on Tuesday and something was bothering him. "We'll hold him out for precautionary reasons," Hynes said. Hall practiced Monday at full strength and Hynes said the team will likely have more information later in the day. Reid Boucher will take his place. "We expect him to play his game. He has to skate, he has to be able to move his feet," Hynes said. "He has to get himself into scoring areas. Those are things we talked with about while he was out." The Devils have won four in a row and allowed two goals or less in each game during that stretch. Forward Vernon Fiddler returns to Dallas for the first time after signing with New Jersey as a free agent on July 1. Fiddler played 366 games for Dallas between 2011 and 2016, and his family still lives in Texas. "It's going to be an emotional night," Fiddler said. "I came down a couple days early and spent some time with my family … I'm looking forward to it and I'm looking forward to see what my new team can do against my old one." Goaltender Cory Schneider will start.


Stars team scope

Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza will play for the first time since Nov. 5 after dealing with a lower-body injury. "I feel good, I put the work in the past few days and I feel like I'll be able to hop in right away and contribute," Spezza said. "You just kind of wait for it to heal, I was able to stay on the ice and keep my conditioning." Antoine Roussel has eight points during an NHL-best six-game point streak. "He works extremely hard every day," coach Lindy Ruff said. "He can annoy the players in how hard he wants to work each day … there is no half speed." The left wing has played on Tyler Seguin's line for the past three games after Ruff split Jamie Benn and Seguin following an 8-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 8. Lauri Korpikoski has been playing on a line with Benn and Radek Faksa and has scored in the past three games. "I've been getting the opportunity now and playing a lot of minutes on a good line," Korpikoski said. "It's just my job to get the job done and still be responsible defensively, and remember that." Goaltender Antti Niemi will play after Kari Lehtonen started the past four games.


Devils projected lineup

PA Parenteau -- Travis Zajac -- Beau Bennett

Pavel Zacha -- Adam Henrique -- Kyle Palmieri

Reid Boucher -- Jacob Josefson -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Sergey Kalinin -- Vernon Fiddler -- Nick Lappin

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Yohann Auvitu -- Ben Lovejoy

John Moore -- Kyle Quincey

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Michael Cammalleri, Jon Merrill

Injured: Taylor Hall (lower body)


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Radek Faksa -- Lauri Korpikoski

Antoine Roussel -- Tyler Seguin -- Patrick Eaves

Gemel Smith -- Devin Shore -- Jason Spezza

Curtis McKenzie -- Adam Cracknell -- Brett Ritchie

Dan Hamhuis -- John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya -- Stephen Johns

Patrik Nemeth -- Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Esa Lindell, Jamie Oleksiak, Justin Dowling

Injured: Patrick Sharp (concussion), Mattias Janmark (knee), Cody Eakin (knee), Ales Hemsky (groin), Jiri Hudler (illness)


Status report

Cammalleri isn't on the trip and is still attending to a personal matter. Merrill skated Tuesday and was activated off injured reserve. … Eakin (knee) and Sharp (concussion) skated in red no-contact jerseys on Tuesday. Ruff said Hudler's illness is still a mystery; the forward has gone through a "battery of tests" and is still going through more.


Who's hot

Zajac has five points in his past six games. … Seguin has 13 points in his past eight games.

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