The Dallas Stars open their seven-game preseason schedule tonight, taking on the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center. The Stars' first exhibition game follows a three-day training camp in Boise, Idaho.
"I am looking for us to get better. Every day we want to see improvement," said coach Jim Montgomery, who will be behind the bench for his first preseason game as Dallas bench boss. "After reviewing (Sunday's) scrimmage we weren't particularly happy with a lot of areas of our game, so tonight we are just looking to get better in a lot of areas to build momentum."
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Ben Bishop is expected to get the start in goal for the Stars and play the first 30 minutes, and Landon Bow will play the rest of the way.
Based on this morning's skate at the AAC, Montgomery will roll out a top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov. Jason Spezza will center the second line with Mattias Janmark and Valeri Nichushkin on his wings. The other forward lines are Roope Hintz centering Jason Dickinson and Brett Ritchie, and Ty Dellandrea in between Nick Caamano and Jason Robertson.
Both Dellandrea, the Stars' first-round pick in 2018, and Robertson, a second-round pick in 2017, will make their NHL preseason debuts. Both are slated to play in juniors this season but played well at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan and have fared well in camp so far.
"I am excited. I am super excited," said Dellandrea. "It's a real special opportunity to be there and play in a preseason game and be here with the guys. I am really excited."
Video: Montgomery wants Stars to keep improving after camp
Said Robertson: "Very excited. I know the scrimmage we had a couple of days ago was a taste, but to go against another club and play with the NHL players in the building is really exciting. I am looking forward to it."
On defense, highly-touted Miro Heiskanen, who has drawn rave reviews from Montgomery, will skate with John Klingberg. Tonight will be the NHL preseason debut for Heiskanen, the third overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft who is expected to start the season with Dallas.
"In the exhibition season we're going to see him in every situation," Montgomery said of Heiskanen. "We want to see what he can handle, what his strengths are and what we need to help him get better at. He's going to be playing with Klingberg, and he's going to be playing a lot."
Esa Lindell, Klingberg's usual defense partner, will skate with Julius Honka, and Roman Polak and Gavin Bayreuther will be the third pair on the blue line.
The Stars will roll out their top power-play unit of Benn, Seguin, Radulov, Spezza, and Klingberg tonight. The second unit will have Janmark, Ritchie, Nichushkin, Heiskanen, and Honka.
"[The first unit players] know their roles. We're just asking everyone to score more," Montgomery said. "The second unit, that's the area where we're not sure who is all going to be on that."
Who: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Valeri Nichushkin
Jason Dickinson - Roope Hintz - Brett Ritchie
Nick Caamano - Ty Dellandrea - Jason Robertson
Miro Heiskanen - John Klingberg
Esa Lindell - Julius Honka
Gavin Bayreuther - Roman Polak
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 DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.