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Preview: Lightning at Stars

Tyler Johnson expected back for Tampa Bay; Dallas looks to end three-game losing streak

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (25-24-7) AT STARS (22-27-10)

8 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-SW, NHL.TV


Lightning team scope

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson is expected to return after missing two games with a lower-body injury. "Every skate changes a little bit, so we'll see how it feels tonight come game time and just go from there," Johnson said. Forward Jonathan Drouin will be a game-time decision after missing the morning skate because of illness. The Lightning recalled forward Cory Conacher from Syracuse of the American Hockey League, who will play if Drouin is unavailable. Tampa Bay is playing its first game after six days off. Teams have struggled this season in the first game back from the break, combining for a 3-9-2 record. "We can't use that as an excuse, especially where we are, we know we are chasing," said forward Brian Boyle , who will play in his 600th NHL game. The Lightning are six points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. "We had a good practice yesterday, and I think that's important." Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will start. Forward Nikita Kucherov is two points from 200 in his NHL career.


Stars team scope

The Dallas Stars are trying to end a three-game losing streak and are seven points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card from the Western Conference. "We played hard on the road trip (0-3-0)," coach Lindy Ruff said. "I asked them to do certain things, we did certain things. We made a couple big mistakes in the [Minnesota] game [a 3-1 loss Thursday] that hurt us … but we've got to continue to do the right things." The Stars are 1-7-0 in February and have allowed at least three goals in each loss. Defenseman Stephen Johns will miss his second straight game because of illness, and defenseman Patrik Nemeth will remain in the lineup. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen will start after allowing three goals on 26 shots against the Wild. Captain Jamie Benn will play in his 300th NHL game.


Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Brayden Point -- Cory Conacher

Ondrej Palat -- Valtteri Filppula -- Brian Boyle

Cedric Paquette -- Gabriel Dumont -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Braydon Coburn -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Jonathan Drouin (illness), Steven Stamkos (knee), Ryan Callahan (lower body)


Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Cody Eakin -- Patrick Eaves

Devin Shore -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin

Antoine Roussel -- Radek Faksa -- Patrick Sharp

Curtis McKenzie -- Adam Cracknell -- Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis -- Jordie Benn

Patrik Nemeth -- Jamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Lauri Korpikoski

Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip), Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Johnny Oduya (ankle)


Status report

Hemsky took part in the morning skate Saturday and said he expects to play this season. "It won't be 100 percent, but when I know I'm ready mentally, it'll be good to go," Hemsky said.

Who's hot

Jamie Benn has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in his past 14 games. ... Seguin has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past three games. ... Johnson (three goals, four assists) and Killorn (three goals, four assists) each has seven points in his past seven games. ... Hedman has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past six games. ... Kucherov has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past five games.

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