The Dallas Stars' game Thursday at the Detroit Red Wings is big for Stars general manager Jim Nill, who spent 19 years with the Red Wings' organization before leaving for Dallas during the summer. But the game is big for the Stars as a whole.
The Stars won the first two games of their three-game trip and a sweep would make the return flight to Texas that much more fun.
"We've got that opportunity [to sweep], but we know this is a tough building to play in," Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. "We knew Boston was going to be a tough building too. They gave us a push in the first 10 minutes and our push back was even greater. It was good to see. You're going to face that challenge in some buildings and the home team is going to garner the edge, but you have to take it away from them."
Stars captain Jamie Benn and goaltender Kari Lehtonen did not take part in the team's morning skate, but the Ruff said they were maintenance days and both are expected to be in the lineup.
The Red Wings will work on their push-back without veteran forward Johan Franzen, who will sit out for the fourth time in the past five games with an upper-body injury. Franzen will not play Thursday and Detroit GM Ken Holland told MLive.com that it's likely Franzen will miss the Wings' game Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Holland said Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets is a possibility.
Here are the lineups the teams likely will use Thursday:
Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Daniel Cleary - Stephen Weiss - Daniel Alfredsson
Justin Abdelkader - Joakim Andersson - Tomas Tatar
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Mikael Samuelsson
Niklas Kronwall - Danny DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey - Jakub Kindl
Brian Lashoff - Adam Almquist
Scratched: Patrick Eaves, Jordin Tootoo
Injured: Johan Franzen (upper body), Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder), Brendan Smith (shoulder)
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Valeri Nichushkin
Ray Whitney - Cody Eakin - Alex Chiasson
Erik Cole - Vernon Fiddler - Rich Peverley
Antoine Roussel - Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Garbutt
Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Sergei Gonchar
Alex Goligoski - Jordie Benn
Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Lane MacDermid