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Dillon, Nemeth Game-time Decisions for Stars; Getzlaf Game-time Decision for Ducks

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Stars defensemen Brenden Dillon and Patrik Nemeth are still question marks heading into tonight’s pivotal Game 5 against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

Both players took part in this morning’s skate. Dillon, who has yet to play in the playoffs, skated on the fourth defensive pair and is a game-time decision.

“He looks pretty good to me,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ll check with the trainer and see where he is at after. He hasn’t had a demanding practice yet, but he’s working and he’s real close to it.”

Dillon is hopeful he gets in tonight, and joked that he’s been on his best behavior all week to tilt things his way.

“It’s just getting the OK. I’ve wanted to play since Game 1. It’s just getting cleared to go and I am feeling better to go,” Dillon said. "I think Sunday (Game 6) is probably more realistic, but at the same time, if I can get in tonight, I want to get in. I've been trying to get better and show that I can play.

“My fingers are crossed. I was good on Easter Sunday, getting my prayers in.”

Nemeth, who left Wednesday’s game after the first period with an upper body injury, skated on a pair with Jordie Benn this morning, but Ruff said he is still a question mark for tonight.

“He’s still not a full go yet,” said Ruff. “He’s still questionable for tonight.”

Ruff said he’ll skate seven defensemen tonight in warm ups and then a decision will be made.

It doesn’t appear there will be any changes among the forwards, meaning that Erik Cole will be scratched for a third straight game.

Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 58 of 60 shots in winning both his starts in Dallas, gets the nod in goal for the Stars tonight.

With the series tied 2-2, tonight’s game is a big one for both teams. For the Stars, it’s an opportunity to keep rolling in the series and take home-ice advantage away from the Ducks, who are looking to get back on track after dropping both games in Dallas.

“It’s a real big opportunity for us,” Ruff said. “We’re going to see their best game. The series is down to the best of the three. They’ve had pretty good success here at home and we haven’t won here yet. But at the same time we can have a little risk and reward tonight where we can get after this. We know they are going to play well and we are not going to play a safe game.”

Ducks watch: Getzlaf questionable, Selanne back in, Andersen stays in goal

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who missed Wednesday’s game with an upper body injury, skated this morning and is questionable for tonight’s Game 5.

“We'll see tonight," Getzlaf said. “This is part of our process that we're going through right now. I won't really know until game time tonight.”

Teemu Selanne, who was a healthy scratch the last game, will be in as well. Selanne said he is ready to move forward from being scratched.

“I’m very excited,” Selanne said. “I’m a very positive guy, and it wasn’t the end of the world. It’s a new opportunity today and there are no hard feelings. It’s a business. It’ll be fun.”

Defenseman Luca Sbisa, who hasn’t played yet in the playoffs, could be in the lineup tonight as well.

“There's a good chance he's in,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “He's got experience and he's played in these games before. He can be a physical defenseman when needed. He's had a rough year because of injuries, but when he's been at his best, he's a top-four defenseman. We're hoping that's going to happen tonight.”

Frederik Andersen, who had a rough start in Dallas on Wednesday, will be in goal again Friday night and got a vote of confidence from his head coach.

“That might’ve been his first bad game in an awful long time,” Boudreau said. “But I think he’ll bounce back and do a real good job tonight. I think he knows I have full confidence in him.”

Tonight’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks
What: Game 5, 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim
When: 9:30 p.m.
Local TV: Fox Sports Southwest
National TV: NBC Sports Network, TSN
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler Seguin- Alex Chiasson
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Ray WhitneyChris MuellerValeri Nichushkin

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Patrik Nemeth (questionable) – Jordie Benn
Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon (questionable)

Kari Lehtonen
Tim Thomas

Scratched: Erik Cole, Dustin Jeffrey, Aaron Rome

Injured: Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)

Ducks projected lineup

Devante Smith-Pelly – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Jakob Silfverberg – Saku Koivu – Andrew Cogliano
Patrick Maroon – Mathieu Perreault – Teemu Selanne
Daniel Winnik - Nick Bonino – Kyle Palmieri

Luca Sbisa – Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen – Mark Fistric

Frederik Andersen
Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, Emerson Etem

Injured: Matt Beleskey (lower body), Stephane Robidas (leg), Tim Jackman (hand)

This story was not subject to the 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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