The Dallas Stars resume play tonight, taking on the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. It’s the first game after the All-Star break for both teams, who haven’t played since last Tuesday and just got back on the ice yesterday.
“I don’t know [what to expect],” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Yesterday was a tough practice day and some pretty heavy legs. Some guys looked pretty good, and some guys looked like they were spitting a few fumes out. But, for the most part, every team is in the same category. For me, it will start with puck movement. If the puck movement is bad, it could be a rough start.”
Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal for the Stars. Trevor Daley (groin) and Patrick Eaves (ankle) look as though they will be back in the lineup tonight. Brett Ritchie, who appeared ready to go yesterday, was in a red jersey today and is not expected to play tonight due to an undisclosed injury. Erik Cole (upper body) was wearing a red jersey for a second straight day and is expected to miss tonight’s game as well.
Eaves returns to the lineup after missing 21 games with an ankle injury. Eaves, who was injured in the Dec. 2 game at Toronto, was ready to play last week.
“I feel really good,” Eaves said. “I felt good last week and I feel better now.”
He skated on a line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin this morning.
“It was where he was playing before, and it was a good fit for us,” Ruff said. “We’re going to put him back in that spot and see if he can continue where he left off. He knows how to play the game. He plays the game the right way. He defends as well as he plays offensively, and he’s got a great shot. I am hoping that he can just step right in and continue what he was doing before.”
Tonight’s game will mark the first time Travis Moen has played in Montreal since the Canadiens traded him to Dallas for Sergei Gonchar back in November. Moen spent five-plus seasons in Montreal.
“It’s going to be a little weird,” Moen said. “I am excited, but I am going to be a little nervous. Once the puck drops it is back to game as usual, and it’s going to be fun playing against them. But my focus is trying to help my team get two points.”
The Stars come into tonight’s game four points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Carey Price will get the start in goal tonight for Montreal, and he was on quite a run heading into the All-Star break. Over his last 13 starts, he posted a 10-2-1 record, 1.61 goals against average and .945 save percentage. He allowed two goals or fewer in 12 of those 13 starts.
Who: Dallas Stars at Montreal Canadiens
Where: Bell Centre
When: 6:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Eaves
Shawn Horcoff – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Travis Moen – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Trevor Daley – Jason Demers
David Schlemko – Jordie Benn
Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: Erik Cole (upper body), Brett Ritchie (undisclosed), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)
Canadiens projected lineup
Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Dale Weise
Alex Galchenyuk - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher
Jiri Sekac - Lars Eller - Christian Thomas
Michael Bournival - Manny Malhotra - Brandon Prust
Nathan Beaulieu - P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov - Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin - Tom Gilbert
Scratched: Mike Weaver
Injured: Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (concussion)
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.