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Jamie Benn to Play, Kari Lehtonen in Goal as Stars Take on Flames

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn, who was questionable for tonight’s game in Calgary, skated this morning and will be in the lineup when the Dallas Stars take on the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.

“He’s a player. He’ll play tonight,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He’s a gamer. It’s nothing too serious that he can’t play through.”

Benn suffered an undisclosed injury late in Monday’s 4-3 win over Buffalo at American Airlines Center and did not practice Tuesday.

“I'll be in there tonight,” Benn told NHL.com. “I didn't want to miss this one, anyways. There's a lot of rumors out there I might not play, but I'm playing and I'm ready to go.”

No other lineup changes are expected. Kari Lehtonen will make his eighth straight start in goal for the Stars. He is 6-1-0 in his past seven games with a 1.71 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

The Stars have won six of their past seven games and eight of their past ten. They are eight points behind Winnipeg for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference but will have a chance to gain some ground after the Jets’ 5-2 loss in Vancouver Tuesday night. Even with a win tonight, it is still a steep climb. The Stars would have to pass the fourth place team in the Pacific Division as well Right now that could be either Los Angeles or Calgary. The Stars are six points behind both teams.

“We know we have to win games,” said Stars center Shawn Horcoff. “Given how many we are back we know we have to win a lot of games. It starts with Calgary, buit it doesn’t really matter who we play.”

Flames watch

No lineup changes for the Flames, who will roll with the group they used in Monday’s win over Colorado. Karri Ramo gets the start in goal. There will be some line juggling as coach Bob Hartley looks for some offense beyond the top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler.

“We need scoring from everyone,” Hartley told the Flames official site. “That's so important because the games are so tight. You get a goal or two from different lines, suddenly you're a much better hockey club. Every team is hoping for secondary scoring.”

Calgary is in third place in the Pacific Division. The Flames are tied with Los Angeles at 86 points but hold the ROW (regulation/overtime wins) tiebreaker, 36-34.

Calgary announced Wednesday that defenseman Douglas Murray’s try-out with the team has expired.

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennCody EakinTyler Seguin
Patrick EavesJason SpezzaAles Hemsky
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Curtis McKenzieShawn HorcoffBrett Ritchie

Jyrki JokipakkaAlex Goligoski
Patrik NemethJohn Klingberg
Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen
Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Ryan Garbutt, Travis Moen

Injured: Trevor Daley (knee), Valeri Nichushkin (hip)

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma - Markus Granlund - David Jones
Joe Colborne - Mikael Backlund - Josh Jooris
Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Mason Raymond

TJ Brodie - Deryk Engelland
Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman
David Schlemko - Raphael Diaz

Karri Ramo
Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Corey Potter, Michael Ferland, Drew Shore

Injured: Ladislav Smid (upper body), Paul Byron (lower body), Mark Giordano (biceps)

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 DallasStars.com 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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