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Ales Hemsky Could be a Scratch Tonight vs. Montreal

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Based on this morning’s skate at American Airlines Center, it appears that forward Ales Hemsky could be a healthy scratch for the second time this season.

Hemsky took part in line rushes at the beginning of the skate, but then stayed on the ice a long time after the morning session and skated hard, an indication he wouldn’t be playing tonight.

Asked if Hemsky was a scratch tonight and what he needed to improve, Stars coach Lindy Ruff was terse in his reply.

“Ales is available to play tonight,” Ruff said.

Hemsky has seven points (two goals, five assists) and a minus-12 rating in 25 games this season. He was scratched in the Nov. 13 game at Los Angeles as well.

If Hemsky does sit, Curtis McKenzie will come into the lineup.

Jyrki Jokipakka also skated late, indicating that he will be the scratch on defense and that Jamie Oleksiak would be back in the lineup.

Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice for the Stars, so he should be in goal tonight.

Moen set to face former team

Stars forward Travis Moen face the Montreal Canadiens for the first time since he was traded to Dallas from Montreal for defenseman Sergei Gonchar on Nov. 11. Moen spent five-plus seasons with the Canadiens.

“It’s always fun playing your old team,” Moen said. “We have a lot of fans of our team. It’s going to be a fun night. Obviously, we’re trying to get the two points and that’s my main concern, but always fun to play your former team.”

Moen has no points in nine games since joining the Stars. Stars coach Lindy Ruff doesn’t measure Moen’s contributions in numbers.

“Character, for me it’s been character,” Ruff said. “He does the right things. He stepped in for his teammates. He’s a veteran guy that knows how to play the game, plays the game the right way for us.”

“It’s been OK,” Moen said of his time with the Stars. “Obviously, we’ve had some good games, some ups and downs. I’m starting to feel a lot better with the systems and stuff. Can hopefully put some big games together here.”

Tonight will be Moen’s 700th NHL game.

Canadiens watch

The Canadiens didn’t skate this morning. They played last night in Chicago, losing 4-3 on a goal in the final minute. Dustin Tokarski is the likely starter in goal. He is 3-2-1 with a 2.44 goals against average and .914 save percentage this season. The Canadiens are 4-1-1 in the second games of back-to-backs this season.

Saturday’s game

Who: Montreal Canadiens at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinColton Sceviour
Curtis McKenzieJason SpezzaErik Cole
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerTravis Moen

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Jordie BennJason Demers
Jamie OleksiakJohn Klingberg

Kari Lehtonen
Jussi Rynnas

Scratched: Ales Hemsky, Jyrki Jokipakka

Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)

Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Sven Andrighetto - Jiri Sekac – Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
Brandon Prust – Manny Malhotra – Eric Tangradi

Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Sergei Gonchar – Alexei Emelin
Tom Gilbert – Mike Weaver

Dustin Tokarski
Carey Price

Scratched: Bryan Allen, Drayson Bowman.

Injured: Lars Eller (upper body).

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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