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Golden Knights at Stars preview

Neal in Vegas lineup; Hitchcock begins second stint as Dallas coach

by Sean Shapiro / NHL.com Correspondent

GOLDEN KNIGHTS (0-0-0) at STARS (0-0-0)

8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, TVA Sports, FS-SW, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV 

 

The Game 

The Vegas Golden Knights will open their inaugural season as the NHL's 31st team when they visit the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Friday.

Golden Knights forward James Neal will be in the lineup; he missed the preseason after breaking his hand playing for the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final. 

"From the expansion draft to becoming part of this organization to having a chance to play in the first game is really cool," Neal said. "I'm excited about being able to play tonight."

It's also a big night for Stars coach Ken Hitchcock, who will begin his second stint with Dallas, which he led to the Stanley Cup in 1999. Hitchcock ranks fourth in NHL history with 781 career wins, one shy of tying Al Arbour for third place on the league's all-time list. 

Right wing Alexander Radulov, center Martin Hanzal, defenseman Marc Methot and goaltender Ben Bishop each will make his Stars debut. 

 

Players to watch

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start for the Golden Knights in the first game of his NHL career playing for someone other than the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Radulov will play his first game with the Stars, on a line with left wing Jamie Benn and center Tyler Seguin. Radulov had 54 points (18 goals, 36 assists) in 76 games last season with the Montreal Canadiens. 

 

They said it

"We want to come out and make the city proud. We've got to come out and work as a team and help that process a little bit. The first thought is with them and the city and we'll be thinking about them tonight." -- Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland, on playing for the victims of the recent shooting in Las Vegas 

"We haven't really played a full game together with a full roster, so tonight's the first one. And there is a lot of experience in this room, so I think we'll be able to jell pretty quick. It will be fun, first game as a Dallas Star and the home opener." -- Stars goaltender Ben Bishop 

 

Golden Knights projected lineup

Reilly Smith -- Jonathan Marchessault -- Oscar Lindberg

David Perron -- Cody Eakin -- James Neal

William Karlsson -- Erik Haula -- Brendan Leipsic

Tomas Nosek -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- William Carrier

Brayden McNabb -- Deryk Engelland

Colin Miller -- Jason Garrison

Luca Sbisa -- Nate Schmidt 

Marc-Andre Fleury 

Malcolm Subban 

Scratched: Griffin Reinhart, Jon Merrill, Brad Hunt 

Injured: None

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark -- Jason Spezza -- Brett Ritchie

Devin Shore -- Martin Hanzal -- Tyler Pitlick 

Antoine Roussel -- Radek Faksa -- Gemel Smith 

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Marc Methot -- Jamie Oleksiak 

Dan Hamhuis -- Stephen Johns 

Ben Bishop

Kari Lehtonen 

Scratched: Adam Cracknell, Greg Pateryn, Julius Honka 

Injured: None

 

Status report

Goaltender Calvin Pickard cleared waivers Friday, and the Golden Knights assigned him to Chicago of the American Hockey League. Center Vadim Shipachyov and defenseman Shea Theodore each remain assigned to the AHL, with Vegas trying to maneuver its roster, which has nine defensemen. … Dallas held an optional morning skate. 

 

Stat pack

Expansion teams are 6-13-3 in NHL debuts and 2-8-2 when opening on the road. … Dallas is 3-1-1 in its past five openers and 5-1-3 in its past nine.

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