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Bishop back on ice, expected to play for Stars this weekend

Zuccarello continues to practice and hopes to return before the end of the regular season

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars are not expected to get any of their injured players back for Tuesday's game against Philadelphia at American Airlines Center (7:30 p.m. CT; FS-SW; KTCK), but there were signs of progress with several players Monday at Comerica Center Frisco.

Goaltender Ben Bishop was on the ice for the first time since going out of the lineup with a lower-body injury in last Wednesday's game at Calgary. Bishop worked out with goaltending coach Jeff Reese before the team's full practice session.

"I heard he looked good from everybody," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "Coach Reese said he looks like he's ready to play. I'm like, 'OK, that's good.' That's why we think he's going to play for sure this weekend.

"We want to play him, and he needs a game before we start the playoffs and it's not good for (Anton Khudobin) to play every game, either."

Forward Mats Zuccarello, who has been out since suffering a broken arm in the Feb. 24 game against Chicago, continues to skate with the team and went through a full practice Monday. He's still not ready to return, but the hope is he'll be ready to play by this weekend and get in a game before the postseason.

"It is still being evaluated day-to-day," Montgomery said of Zuccarello. "We hope this weekend."

Forward Brett Ritchie, who has missed a couple of games recently with a hand injury, practiced Monday. Forward Justin Dowling, who has missed two games with an upper-body injury, skated before practice Monday.

Video: Montgomery, Fedun talk Stars' push for playoff spot

"Dowling this weekend should be a player," Montgomery said. "Everything is progressing well for everybody. Ritchie as well this weekend should be a player. But none of them are available for tomorrow night."

With nobody returning, the Stars should go with the same lineup as the Saturday game as Vancouver. Montgomery rolled out the same forward lines and defense pairs he used in that game in Monday's practice. Among those forward lines were Tyler Seguin centering Mattias Janmark and Alexander Radulov, and Jamie Benn skating with Roope Hintz and Jason Dickinson.

The Stars' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one point, meaning they can secure a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win or an overtime/shootout loss against the Flyers. The Stars had a chance to clinch Saturday in Vancouver but came up one point short in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Canucks that capped off a 3-0-1 road trip.

"It would have been pretty dramatic to do it on one of those shootout goals," Montgomery said, "but right now we get immersed in the moment, our process and how we go about getting positive outcomes. We don't worry about the outcomes."

And now the Stars turn their attention to Tuesday's game against the Flyers at the AAC.

"(Our approach is) same as last game," said Stars center Tyler Seguin. "We treat it the same. We want to focus on how we play. We've been on the road for a little bit, and it was a great road trip. That first one back home is usually the toughest one, especially with the travel.

"We had a good skate (today) and looking forward to tomorrow night."

Video: DAL@CGY: Bishop exits game with injury in 2nd


Practice lineup

Here is how the Stars lined up in Monday's practice:

Mattias Janmark - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Jason Dickinson
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Spezza - Tyler Pitlick
Mats Zuccarello - Joel L'Esperance - Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Taylor Fedun - Ben Lovejoy
Jamie Oleksiak - Julius Honka

Anton Khudobin
Landon Bow

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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