Forward Denis Gurianov will be in the lineup tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center to begin a four-game homestand.
Gurianov, who was called up from the Texas Stars on Wednesday, has been on a roll in the AHL recently, tallying 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his last nine games. He took the spot on the Dallas roster of center Justin Dowling, who was sent back to the AHL yesterday.
"Denis has been playing really well down there and he had a great camp," said Stars coach Jim Montgomery. "Dowling played really well for us but he is a natural center and we felt we needed a winger."
Gurianov, who played one NHL game with Dallas in the 2016-17 season, will skate on the second line tonight with Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza. He also practiced with the second power play unit at this morning's skate at the AAC. Tonight's game is a good opportunity for the speedy, skilled Gurianov, the Stars' first-round pick (12th overall) in the NHL Draft.
"I am excited. I am happy to be here," the 21-year-old Gurianov said "[Coach] told me to just play my game, like I play in the AHL and in the preseason games. Just work hard."
With Gurianov in the mix tonight, there will be some juggling with the other forward lines. Tyler Seguin will center the top line with Devin Shore and Valeri Nichushkin. Mattias Janmark will move to the fourth line with Jason Dickinson and Gemel Smith. The line of Blake Comeau, Radek Faksa, and Tyler Pitlick will stay intact.
Video: Klingberg, Karlsson set for head-to-head battle
There will be no changes on defense. The Stars will go with the same six defensemen as the last three games: Esa Lindell, John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, Roman Polak, Julius Honka, and Dillon Heatherington.
Anton Khudobin will get the start in goal. Khudobin has been superb in his last two starts, stopping 64 of 67 shots.
"He's been playing well," Montgomery said. "Columbus was in our zone a lot, so we just want to give [Ben Bishop] the opportunity to regroup and get a practice in before he faces Nashville Saturday."
Alexander Radulov (lower body), Marc Methot (lower body), Brett Ritchie (upper body infection), Connor Carrick (foot), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), and Martin Hanzal (back) all are out.
The Stars (8-6-1) are in the midst of some tough scheduling. They are coming off a long six-game road trip during which they picked up seven of 12 points by going 3-2-1. Tonight's game will be their seventh in the past 12 days, but Montgomery said he isn't looking for any excuses about the schedule.
"You just can't accept being tired," Montgomery said. "Everybody's schedule in November, no matter who you are looking at, is going every second day. Everyone is in the same boat. Everybody has their problems right now. We just have to have better effort all around."
Opposition watch: San Jose Sharks
The Sharks (8-4-3) are coming off a 4-3 win over Minnesota in San Jose on Tuesday to wrap up a 2-1-1 homestand. The Sharks have points in eight of their past nine games (6-1-2). Martin Jones is expected in goal tonight for San Jose. Forward Tomas Hertl will miss tonight's game with a head injury. San Jose's Joe Thornton, who scored his 399th career goal in Tuesday's game, will play his 1,500th NHL game tonight.
The Stars are 5-2-0 at home.
The Sharks are 4-2-2 on the road.
The Stars are 4-0-0 vs. the Pacific Division.
The Sharks are 2-0-0 vs. the Central Division.
The Stars are tied for fifth in the NHL in goals against at 2.67 per game.
The Sharks are tied for 10th in goal scoring at 3.33 per game.
The Stars rank 23rd in goal scoring at 2.80 per game.
The Sharks are tied for 13th in goals against at 2.93 per game.
San Jose's Brent Burns is tied for second in scoring among defensemen with 18 points (three goals, 15 assists).
Dallas' John Klingberg is tied for sixth in scoring among defensemen with 13 points (five goals, eight assists).
Who: San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM/96.7-FM
Stars projected lineup
Devin Shore - Tyler Seguin - Valeri Nichushkin
Jamie Benn - Jason Spezza - Denis Gurianov
Blake Comeau - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Mattias Janmark - Jason Dickinson - Gemel Smith
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Dillon Heatherington - Julius Honka
Injured: Alexander Radulov (lower body), Marc Methot (lower body), Brett Ritchie (upper-body infection), Connor Carrick (foot), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Martin Hanzal (back)
Sharks projected lineup
Evander Kane - Joe Pavelski - Joonas Donskoi
Timo Meier - Logan Couture - Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow - Joe Thornton - Marcus Sorensen
Rourke Chartier - Antti Suomela - Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson
Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns
Scratched: Radim Simek, Tim Heed
Injured: Tomas Hertl (head)
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.