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Stars shuffle lines, start Lehtonen against Hurricanes

by Steve Hunt / NHL.com

HURRICANES (10-13-4) at STARS (20-5-2)

TV: FS-CR, FS-SW

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff shuffled his third and fourth lines in advance of their game against the Carolina Hurricanes at American Airlines Center on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-CR, FS-SW).

Veteran Patrick Sharp moves from right wing to left wing on the third line alongside Cody Eakin and Ales Hemsky. Antoine Roussel, Vernon Fiddler and Colton Sceviour will skate on the fourth line.

Sharp will play his first game at left wing this season, but has experience at the position.

"He said to me that he likes playing left wing sometimes more than playing right wing," Ruff said. "So, it gets to open up a little bit more of the shooting and playmaking, and I think that when you can use a player in any of those positions, it just gives you more options."

Ruff is keeping his defensive pairs intact from the Edmonton game. Goalie Kari Lehtonen will start for the Stars, who will attempt to avoid dropping the first game of a homestand coming off a successful four-game road trip for the third time this season.

Dallas (20-5-2) was 2-0-2 on its most recent road trip. On Oct. 24, the Stars lost 6-2 to the Florida Panthers to start a four-game homestand. They also lost 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 10 after another four-game road trip.

"Well, sometimes you look at big mistakes inside of a game," Ruff said. "Some of those are mental mistakes where you get back home and you try something that you wouldn't try on the road. And I think if we can eliminate some of those things, we'd be better off."

Carolina (10-13-4) is starting a four-game road trip and coach Bill Peters chose to make the morning skate optional Tuesday. Fifteen players skated, including both goaltenders; Cam Ward was first off the ice, making him likely to start.

The Hurricanes have already faced the Stars this season, losing 4-1 at PNC Arena on Nov. 6, so Peters knows exactly what to expect from them a second time around, specifically from their high-scoring tandem of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who are tied for second in the NHL with 35 points.

"Well, they [Benn and Seguin] are going to get their chances and we got to make sure that anything they get they earn and we got to make sure that we're there to clean up some rebounds," Peters said. "They are going to have some opportunities for sure. They're dangerous on the power play also, so we got to make sure if they get a power-play opportunity, it's because they've earned it, not because we gave them something for free and be very competitive in that regard."

Here are the projected lineups:

HURRICANES

Kris VersteegEric StaalElias Lindholm

Joakim NordstromJordan StaalAndrej Nestrasil

Jeff SkinnerVictor RaskPhillip Di Giuseppe

Brad MaloneJay McClementChris Terry

Ron HainseyJustin Faulk

John-Michael LilesBrett Pesce

Noah HanifinJaccob Slavin

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Michal Jordan, Riley Nash

Injured: Nathan Gerbe (ankle), James Wisniewski (knee)

STARS

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaPatrick Eaves

Patrick SharpCody EakinAles Hemsky

Antoine Roussel - Vernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJordie Benn

Patrik NemethJamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Travis Moen

Injured: Jason Demers (upper body)

Status report: Peters said Gerbe, who has missed the past seven games with an ankle injury, is about a month away from returning. … Demers, who skated on his own at the Stars practice facility in Frisco on Monday, will miss a third consecutive game.

Who's hot: Carolina leads the League in faceoff-win percentage (54.7 percent). … Faulk is tied for the League lead with nine power-play goals, tying a record for most power-play goals in a season by a Hurricanes defenseman. … Jamie Benn leads the League with 18 goals and 12 home goals. … Dallas has won six of seven against Carolina and is 11-4-0 in its past 15 games against the Hurricanes.

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