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Stars view Blues as another test

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars did not have a morning skate in advance of their game Sunday afternoon at American Airlines Center against the St. Louis Blues, but after practice Saturday, Stars coach Lindy Ruff talked about this being the latest measuring-stick game for his team.

"We know that they've been one of the top teams. They've been very consistent through the first 40 here, so we know we're going to have our hands full," Ruff said.

Dallas had three players absent from practice Saturday due to illness: center Cody Eakin, defenseman Alex Goligoski and forward Rich Peverley. Ruff said their status would be evaluated before the game, which starts at 5 p.m. local time.

But rookie wing Alex Chiasson, who missed the Stars' 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Friday with an illness, practiced Saturday and appears set to return.

"I'll go to the rink tomorrow and see how I feel," Chiasson told the Stars website Saturday. "You want to be part of this team. You want to be part of the success. It's tough sitting on the bike watching the guys play."

Ruff likely will start Kari Lehtonen in goal for a fifth consecutive game.

St. Louis, which beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 in a shootout Saturday at Scottrade Center, also did not skate. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has several injury issues heading into the game.

Forward David Backes left the game Saturday with an upper-body injury and will be further evaluated prior to the game Sunday. The Blues have recalled Sergey Andronov on an emergency basis from Peoria of the American Hockey League.

Forward Derek Roy missed the Blackhawks game with an illness, which prompted Hitchcock to move Maxim Lapierre up from the fourth line to skate alongside Brenden Morrow and Chris Stewart. Adam Cracknell centered the Blues' fourth line alongside Chris Porter, who was in for Vladimir Sobotka, who did not play after tweaking something during the morning skate, and Dmitrij Jaskin.

Sunday will mark Morrow's first appearance in Dallas since he was traded by the Stars to the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. Morrow played more than 800 games for the Stars and had served as captain since 2006.

Hitchcock also has a question in goal after pulling Jaroslav Halak, who allowed three goals on 13 shots, in the first period against Chicago. Brian Elliott was solid in relief and got the win Saturday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Jaden SchwartzDavid BackesT.J. Oshie

Brenden MorrowMaxim LapierreChris Stewart

Magnus PaajarviPatrik BerglundVladimir Tarasenko

Chris PorterAdam CracknellDmitrij Jaskin

Alex PietrangeloJay Bouwmeester

Kevin ShattenkirkBarret Jackman

Ian ColeCarlo Colaiacovo

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Injured: Jordan Leopold (hand), Roman Polak (ankle), Ryan Reaves (hand), Derek Roy (illness), Vladimir Sobotka (upper body), Alex Steen (concussion)

Scratched: Sergey Andronov


Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin

Antoine Roussel - Cody EakinRyan Garbutt

Erik ColeRich PeverleyAlex Chiasson

Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerRay Whitney

Alex GoligoskiBrenden Dillon

Aaron Rome - Jordie Benn

Kevin ConnautonCameron Gaunce

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

Injured: Trevor Daley (lower body), Sergei Gonchar (concussion symptoms), Stephane Robidas (leg)

Scratched: Dustin Jeffrey

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