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Game-time decision on Stars' Seguin

May return from Achilles injury for Game 2 against Wild

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

Game 2: WILD at STARS

Western Conference First Round

Dallas leads best-of-7 series 1-0

TV: 8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-SW, SN, TVA Sports 2

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-0 in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series on Thursday, but Stars coach Lindy Ruff isn't expecting anything similar in Game 2 on Saturday at American Airlines Center.

"I expect the game to be nothing like Game 1," Ruff said. "This is desperation time. You put Game 1 aside. I expect to see their best. I expect to see them as physical as they can be and try to be as aggressive as they can be in when it comes to creating offense."

Ruff could keep his forward lines identical from Game 1, but injured center Tyler Seguin, who has missed the past 11 games with an Achilles injury, will be a game-time decision.

If Seguin returns, he likely will skate on the right side of the top line alongside Jamie Benn on the left and Cody Eakin at center. Patrick Sharp, who filled that spot on the top line in Game 1, could drop to the left side of the second line with Jason Spezza, who had a goal and an assist in Game 1, at center and Patrick Eaves, who also scored in Game 1, on the right.

Ruff likely will keep his defensive pairs and starting goaltender identical from Game 1. Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice at morning skate on Saturday and will start for the 10th time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in his career.

Benn also expects a different game from the Wild in Game 2, but the Dallas captain knows the Stars will be fully prepared for what they will face.

"I'm sure they are going to play a simple game, get pucks deep and work our defense," Benn said. "We've got to be ready for it. Whatever they bring at us, we've got to counter back."

Wild interim coach John Torchetti made morning skate optional on Saturday.

Torchetti said Erik Haula, who missed Game 1 with an upper-body injury, will return to center his third line alongside Nino Niederreiter on the left and Jason Pominville on the right.

The Wild will move Mikael Granlund from second-line center in Game 1 to left wing on the top line, with Mikko Koivu at center and David Jones at right wing.

"Well, I just think [bringing Haula back] gives us a little more offense since Zach [Parise] is out and [Thomas Vanek] is out, want to put a little bit of power on one line," Torchetti said.

Goalie Devan Dubnyk, who missed practice on Friday due to a maintenance day, returned to the ice on Saturday and will start for the Wild.

Here are the projected lineups:


Mikael Granlund - Mikko Koivu - David Jones

Jason Zucker - Charlie Coyle - Justin Fontaine

Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville

Ryan Carter - Jarret Stoll - Chris Porter

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Jonas Brodin

Nate Prosser - Matt Dumba

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Injured: Zach Parise (upper body), Thomas Vanek (upper body).

Scratched: Zac Dalpe, Christian Folin, Jordan Schroeder.


Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp

Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky

Mattias Janmark - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns

Kris Russell - Jason Demers

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Injured: Brett Ritchie (lower body), Tyler Seguin (Achilles).

Scratched: Jordie Benn, Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak.

Status update: Torchetti said Parise (upper body) remains day-to-day. … After an optional practice on Friday, Ruff said Ritchie (lower body), out the past eight games, had made good progress but would still need 7-10 days in practice before he could be ready to play. Ruff said once Ritchie gets healthy, he could be sent to Texas of the American Hockey League to play in the upcoming 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Who's hot: Pominville has 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 68 career playoff games. … Jamie Benn, who had his first career multi-point playoff game in Game 1 (goal, two assists) has eight points (five goals) in eight career playoff games. Benn also has points in six of his past seven playoff games. … Spezza, who had a goal and an assist in Game, has 54 points (18 goals, 36 assists) in 57 career postseason games.

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