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Hitchcock will roll with 'hard-working lineup' against Avalanche

Radek Faksa and Adam Cracknell are slated to suit up tonight for Dallas; Kari Lehtonen is expected to play two periods

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars will be rolling out a much different looking lineup for their second preseason game when they take on the Avalanche in Denver on Thursday night.

Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said it is a "hard-working lineup." Up front, it will include Radek Faksa, Antoine Roussel, Devin Shore, Adam Cracknell and Curtis McKenzie. There are some AHL players trying to make an impression, including Jason Dickinson, Roope Hintz, and Denis Gurianov, who all are getting a second straight game. Remi Elie, Justin Dowling, and Brian Flynn will play, as well. And there is R.J. Umberger, who is with the Stars on a tryout contract.

On defense, Dan Hamhuis, Greg Pateryn, and Patrik Nemeth will be in tonight. Stephen Johns and Julius Honka will get a second straight game. Defense prospect Dillon Heatherington will also get a look.

Kari Lehtonen is expected to play the first two periods, and Landon Bow will play the third.

For a veteran like Hamhuis, preseason games are an important part of the process of getting up to speed for opening night in October.

Video: Preseason important for preparation

"It's a really important time for preparation to get my game where it needs to be for the first game of the regular season," Hamhuis said. "As for the team, it puts a little more importance on it with the new coach and learning some new systems. We've got a few new players, too."

For Pateryn, who is trying to work his way into the lineup, these games are significant as well. The Stars acquired Pateryn from Montreal at last season's trade deadline for Jordie Benn and a fourth-round pick. He has performed well so far in camp, and tonight is another chance to impress.

"I'd just like to show what I am capable of doing," Pateryn said. "I am pretty confident in my game, and I know what I have to do. I am not going to try to be someone I am not. If I keep my game simple, I think I will be good."

Tonight's game is the second of six preseason contests for the Stars. They opened their preseason schedule with a 5-3 win over St. Louis Tuesday at American Airlines Center.

Colorado played a lot of younger players in its preseason opener, a 4-1 loss to Vegas on Tuesday night in Denver. The Avalanche are expected to play a slightly more experienced lineup tonight, including forwards Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog.  

Tonight's game

Who: Dallas Stars at Colorado Avalanche
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver
When: 8 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: None

Stars projected lineup

Curtis McKenzie - Radek Faksa - R.J. Umberger
Justin Dowling - Jason Dickinson - Brian Flynn
Antoine Roussel - Roope Hintz - Denis Gurianov
Remi Elie - Devin Shore - Adam Cracknell

Dan Hamhuis - Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth - Greg Pateryn
Dillon Heatherington - Julius Honka

Kari Lehtonen
Landon Bow

Note: Nick Caamano skated as an extra forward

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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