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Enroth Excited to Join Stars, Lehtonen in Goal Tonight

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

New Dallas Stars goaltender Jhonas Enroth was on the ice this morning at American Airlines Center, taking part in the team’s pregame skate. The Stars acquired Enroth from Buffalo Wednesday for goaltender Anders Lindback and a conditional third-round pick in 2016.

“First of all, I’m very excited to be here,” Enroth said. “Obviously, it was a little bit crazy day, and a lot of different emotions, kind of a bittersweet feeling. But right now I’m super excited to be here and very excited to be with a team with a chance to make the playoffs.”

Enroth won’t play tonight, but Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday that Enroth would play a game this weekend. That means the 26-year-old Swede could get his first start as a Star Saturday night in Colorado. This weekend is one of five back-to-backs the Stars have the rest of the way this season.

“They told me pretty much that Kari [Lehtonen] was going to play tonight, and then we’ll see what happens,” Enroth said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of back-to-back games left here for us, and there’s a good chance to play a couple of games here.”

Enroth has been the starter this season in Buffalo, playing 37 games with the Sabres. He may not see as much playing time with the Stars and Enroth said that won’t be an issue.

“I’ve been in that role before with Lindy and Ryan Miller [in Buffalo],” Enroth said. “It’s something I’ve been through before, and I’m just going to try to stay sharp, because I learned from that experience when I was younger, and I didn’t stay sharp throughout the games. I think I’ve grown up a little bit and I’m a little bit more mature now, and I can handle that situation better.”

The Stars see Enroth, who has played 118 NHL games, as giving them a boost in the goaltending department as they head down the stretch and try to climb into a playoff spot. Enroth has experience as an NHL starter, and he’s won a gold medal for Sweden at the World Championship.

“He brings us experience. He’s had experience on the world stage. He started a lot of games this year and for us, I think that’s important,” Ruff said. “It puts him probably in a little different category than Lindback was in, and it should give us just that little extra. I think that his game has really come around, and I think he can be a difference maker.”

Morning skate notes

Kari Lehtonen is expected to get the start in goal tonight for the Stars. It will be his eighth start in nine games since the All-Star break.

Based on this morning’s skate, there will be no changes on defense. David Schlemko is expected to be a healthy scratch for the sixth straight game.

With Antoine Roussel sitting out due to a suspension, Stars coach Lindy Ruff is having to juggle his third line. This morning he had Vernon Fiddler centering the line with Cody Eakin on the left wing and Ryan Garbutt in his usual spot on the right side.

“I’m just rewarding [Fiddler] for how well he’s played,” Ruff said. “Instead of having him on the fourth line, I’ve bumped him up. He’s played really well and I’m giving him an opportunity for some added responsibility, some added ice time, which I think he deserves.”

Travis Moen, who has missed the last five games with a lower body injury, appears to be in tonight. He skated on the fourth line this morning with Shawn Horcoff and Colton Sceviour.

Panthers watch

The Panthers, who lost 2-1 at Minnesota last night, did not skate this morning. Last night’s loss snapped a four-game points streak for the Panthers. Florida comes into tonight’s game four points behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida has lost four of its last five games on the road.

Friday’s game

Who: Florida Panthers 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

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves
Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky
Cody EakinVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Travis MoenShawn HorcoffColton Sceviour

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg
Jyrki JokipakkaTrevor Daley
Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen
Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Curtis McKenzie, David Schlemko

Suspended: Antoine Roussel

Injured: Patrik Nemeth (arm), Valeri Nichushkin (hip)

Panthers projected lineup

Jussi Jokinen – Nick Bjugstad – Jimmy Hayes
Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Brad Boyes
Tomas Fleischmann – Dave Bolland – Sean Bergenheim
Shawn Thornton – Derek MacKenzie – Scottie Upshall

Dmitry Kulikov – Erik Gudbranson
Aaron Ekblad – Brian Campbell
Steven Kampfer – Alex Petrovic

Al Montoya
Roberto Luongo

Scratched: Tomas Kopecky.

Injured: Willie Mitchell (upper body), Brandon Pirri (upper body).

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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