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Janmark, Methot expected to return as Stars face Penguins

Lehtonen set to make his third straight start to open the road trip; Bishop begins skating

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Defenseman Marc Methot and forward Mattias Janmark appear ready to return tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.

Methot (sore knee) and Janmark (illness), who both were late scratches in Friday night's 2-1 win over Anaheim at American Airlines Center, took part in Sunday morning's skate in Pittsburgh.

"We got surprised last time, so hopefully we don't get surprised this time," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. "But both guys feel much better. If both guys make it through the afternoon, then we'll be in good shape, and both guys will be in."

Based on this morning's skate, Hitchcock appears ready to go with the lineup he planned on using Friday before Janmark and Methot went out with Janmark skating on the top line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn on a line with Radek Faksa and Tyler Pitlick.

In the second period of Friday's game, Hitchcock reunited Benn, Seguin, and Radulov and that helped fuel the Stars' rally in the victory over the Ducks. Hitchcock said those Benn, Seguin, and Radulov will still see time together.

Video: Stars looking for fast start in Pittsburgh

"They're going to play together some period of time after stoppages or whatever," Hitchcock said. "We need to be more dangerous 5-on-5. This (lineup) looked good at practice, and we never got a chance to use it, but I won't be afraid to switch out right away and get back to where we were before."

There are no surprises with the defense pairs. It will be John Klingberg-Esa Lindell, Dan Hamhuis-Greg Pateryn, and Methot-Stephen Johns.

Kari Lehtonen, of course, will be in goal. Lehtonen has stopped 58 of 60 shots in his past two starts and is 8-5-1 on the road with a 1.81 goals against average and .932 save percentage.

There was some positive news on goaltender Ben Bishop, who is out with a knee injury. Bishop skated today without equipment and is expected to skate with equipment on Monday.

Tonight's game opens a six-game road trip for the Stars, who come into the game in the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. They are three points behind Minnesota for third place in the Central Division and have a three-point lead over ninth place in the Western Conference which is currently held by Los Angeles.


Penguins Watch

The Penguins (39-26-4) played Saturday night in Toronto, losing 5-2 to the Maple Leafs. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Penguins. Pittsburgh did not skate this morning, so no word on any lineup notes. Number one goaltender Matt Murray remains out with a concussion. The Penguins used both Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith in last night's game. Jarry started and played the first two periods, so DeSmith could get the nod in net tonight.


Tonight's Game

Who: Dallas Stars at Pittsburgh Penguins
Where: PPG Paints Arena
When: 6:30 p.m.
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM


Stars Projected Lineup

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

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Marc Methot - Stephen Johns

Kari Lehtonen
Mike Mckenna

Scratched: Gemel Smith, Julius Honka
Injured: Ben Bishop (knee), Martin Hanzal (back)


Penguins Projected Lineup

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Conor Sheary
Carl Hagelin - Evgeni Malkin - Patric Hornqvist
Riley Sheahan - Derick Brassard - Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl - Josh Jooris - Carter Rowney

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Olli Maatta - Chad Ruhwedel
Jamie Oleksiak - Justin Schultz

Casey DeSmith
Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Matt Hunwick
Injured: Bryan Rust (concussion), Zach Aston-Reese (upper body), Dominik Simon (lower body), Matt Murray (concussion)

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 him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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