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Stars forced to shuffle with Martin Hanzal out against Canucks

The center is sidelined with a lower-body injury as Dallas tries to cool off the hot Canucks

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Center Martin Hanzal won't play tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

Hanzal suffered a lower-body injury in the third period of Friday's 2-1 win in Calgary and did not play the final 15 minutes of the game. Hanzal, who missed training camp and most of the preseason due to an ankle injury, has been battling injuries the first month of the season.

"This has been really unfortunate for him," said coach Ken Hitchcock. "Every time he seems to be catching his stride, he ends up getting hurt. We've had three setbacks this year, not including training camp, so it's been tough for him.

"And we've decided that unless we can get sustained work in practice and extra skates in, we're just going to hold him out and bite the bullet until he is 100 percent."

With Hanzal not playing, Remi Elie will draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last game. Hitchcock could go with Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Radek Faksa, and Devin Shore as his centers tonight.

Video: Hanzal out against Canucks

Defenseman Stephen Johns is expected to miss his third straight game due to concussion symptoms. He was injured in Colorado last Tuesday. Johns practiced Sunday and skated with the team again this morning. Hitchcock hopes Johns can be cleared to play in the next couple of days.

The Stars are expected to go with the same six defensemen as last game, meaning that Julius Honka is the likely scratch on the blue line.

Ben Bishop will get the start in goal tonight. He's 5-2-0 with a 2.71 goals against average and .911 save percentage.

This is game four of the Stars' five-game road trip. They are 1-2-0 in the first three games and are facing a hot Vancouver team that has won four straight.

"They've got real balance. [Coach Travis Green] has included everybody and made everybody accountable. Now, they've got scoring depth," Hitchcock said. "That's the league right now. You take scoring players and try to make them two-way players, and he's done a great job. Everybody talks about their wins and goals but look at their goals against (2.40 per game). Look at the goals against the last four or five games, they haven't let many in. They've got a full commitment."


Canucks Watch

The Canucks (6-3-1) have outscored their opposition 15-5 during their four-game winning streak. They'll be without leading scorer Brock Boeser. The rookie forward is out due to a foot injury. Vancouver has recalled forwards Jayson Megna and Anton Rodin from Utica of the AHL and Megna is expected to be in the lineup tonight. Jacob Markstrom is expected to get the start in goal tonight. He is 3-2-0 with a 2.48 goals against average and .908 save percentage.


Tonight's Game

Who: Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks 
Where: Rogers Arena 
When: 9:00 p.m. 
TV: FOX Sports Southwest Plus 
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM


Stars Projected Lineup

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov 
Antoine Roussel - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie 
Gemel Smith - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick 
Mattias Janmark - Devin Shore - Remi Elie

Marc Methot - John Klingberg 
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn 
Jamie Oleksiak - Esa Lindell

Ben Bishop 
Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: Julius Honka 
Injured: Martin Hanzal (lower body), Stephen Johns (concussion symptoms)


Canucks Projected Lineup

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Sam Gagner 
Markus Granlund - Brandon Sutter - Derek Dorsett 
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jake Virtanen 
Thomas Vanek - Alex Burmistrov - Jayson Megna

Ben Hutton - Chris Tanev 
Michael Del Zotto - Erik Gudbranson 
Derrick Pouliot - Alex Biega

Jacob Markstrom 
Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch, Anton Rodin 
Injured: Brock Boeser (foot), Louis Eriksson (knee), Alex Edler (knee), Troy Stecher (knee)

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on 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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