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Stars after better home-ice success vs. Hurricanes

by Steve Hunt

HURRICANES (5-9-3) at STARS (6-8-4)


DALLAS -- After losing 6-2 at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, the Dallas Stars are not only looking to rebound Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes at American Airlines Center, but they're also hoping to start turning things around on home ice, where they are 1-4-4 this season.

Dallas (6-8-4) is starting a five-game homestand against the Hurricanes, who have lost three straight, and Stars coach Lindy Ruff knows how important it is to begin this run of games with a victory.

"Well, it's real big," Ruff said. "We got to push forward now and we got to do it at home. Our home record is the one thing that's been holding us up and we got to start just period by period, going out and winning periods."

The Stars' lone win on home ice came on Oct. 21 against the Vancouver Canucks and they're 0-4-2 at home since that victory. Currently last in the Central Division with 16 points, Dallas has dropped nine of its past 11 games, so Ruff is shuffling his lines, including his top grouping, which now consists of captain Jamie Benn, center Cody Eakin and right wing Tyler Seguin.

Jason Spezza had been centering that line, but Ruff decided to change things up a bit in the hopes of sparking his top offensive players to start producing on a more consistent basis.

"I got to get our top end going," Ruff said. "Our 5-on-5 scoring from [Seguin] and [Benn] and [Spezza] and (Ales) Hemsky, we're going to continue to struggle if I don't get them on the board, if they're not a positive influence on the score sheet for us."

Ruff has also jumbled his defensive pairings, reuniting the veteran duo of Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski after they have been apart for the past few games.

"We're going to go back to putting Goligoski and Daley together [Monday] at the start here because it was something that was really successful for us," Ruff said. "Now that (John) Klingberg's got some games under him, we'll juggle those last four and see who comes up to be the three/four for us. He (Klingberg) can handle the play and that is pretty evident."

The Stars other defensive pairings figure to be Brenden Dillon and Klingberg plus Jordie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice and will start a fifth straight game for Dallas.

Carolina (5-9-3), which is beginning a five-game road trip, lost 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday and are 1-6-2 on the road. But coach Bill Peters hopes the return of veteran right wing Alexander Semin, who has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, will be a boost to his team.

Semin needs just one point to reach 500 for his career and is projected to skate on the right side of the Hurricanes second line alongside left wing Nathan Gerbe and center Riley Nash.

"He's going to play for sure," Bill Peters said. "Need him to come in and make an impact in the goal-scoring department, generate some offense."

The Hurricanes did not take line rushes during the morning skate, but it appears that center Elias Lindholm, who has been skating on the right side of the second line, will move up to the top line alongside left wing Jiri Tlusty and center Eric Staal with Semin taking Lindholm's spot on the second line. Zach Boychuk, who had been on the top line, appears set to drop to the fourth line alongside Patrick Dwyer and center Victor Rask. Brad Malone is a likely scratch.

This game will have added significance for Carolina center Jay McClement. It will mark the 700th of his NHL career.

"I definitely can't take any day for granted in this League. I make sure I do that because it's definitely a privilege to be able to do this for a living," McClement said. "It's something you've got to enjoy every day and not take for granted."

Goalie Cam Ward was first off the ice for Carolina.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jiri TlustyEric StaalElias Lindholm

Nathan GerbeRiley NashAlexander Semin

Jeff SkinnerVictor RaskChris Terry

Patrick DwyerJay McClementZach Boychuk

Andrej SekeraJustin Faulk

John-Michael LilesTim Gleason

Brett BellemoreRon Hainsey

Cam Ward

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Brad Malone

Injured: Jay Harrison (lower body), Jordan Staal (leg)


Jamie BennCody Eakin - Tyler Seguin

Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Curtis McKenzie - Shawn HorcoffTravis Moen

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - John Klingberg

Jordie BennJamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Anders Lindback

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka

Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body) Ryan Garbutt (upper body), Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin)

Status report: Kevin Connauton was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, so Dallas recalled Jokipakka from Texas of the American Hockey League to provide defensive depth. … Nichushkin, expected to miss the next four months, is set for hip surgery Tuesday.

Who's hot: Eric Staal has points in six of his past eight games against Dallas. … Cole scored the 500th point of his NHL career Sunday in Chicago.

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