The Dallas Stars will be making a change on defense tonight when they take on the Calgary Flames. Jordie Benn is out due to illness, so Jamie Oleksiak will be in the lineup.
Benn, who didn’t practice Thursday, did take part in the morning skate.
“Jordie is not going to be able to play,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We chased him out of here and sent him back to the hotel.”
Defenseman Alex Goligoski did not skate this morning, but he will play tonight. He’s been dealing with a lower body injury, and he’s been getting practice days off. Today it was expanded to the morning skate.
“He’s still hampered a little bit, so we kept him off this morning. He’ll play tonight,” Ruff said.
There will be no changes among the forwards. The line combinations are expected to be the same ones Ruff changed to during Wednesday’s 2-0 win at Vancouver. Those lines include Cody Eakin centering Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza in the middle of Curtis McKenzie and Erik Cole.
Kari Lehtonen, coming off a superb 27-save shutout against the Canucks, will get the start in goal.
The Stars (12-13-5) come into tonight’s game with two straight wins and three in their last four games. They are nine points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and seven points behind the Flames, who are currently in ninth place in the West.
Stars taking precautions due to mumps outbreak
The outbreak of mumps around the NHL is a concern, and the Dallas Stars are taking precautions. GM Jim Nill said players received vaccine boosters a few weeks ago, and the team will expand the program.
“Everybody has had the vaccine, and we are going to expand it even further as far as office staff,” Nill said.
The precautions go beyond shots. Locker rooms are sanitized regularly both at home and on the road.
“The league came out now that the visiting dressing room – before we arrived -- was sanitized. When we leave it tonight it is going to be sanitized,” Nill said. “Anybody that is on our team plane is getting vaccinated.”
Sixteen NHL players with five different teams have been confirmed to have had the mumps.
Jonas Hiller will get the start in goal for the Flames. Calgary will make one change in its forward group. Brandon Bollig will come into the lineup, and Matt Stajan will come out and sit as a healthy scratch.
The Flames (17-14-2) come into tonight’s game mired in a six-game losing streak, all of them in regulation.
"Let’s relax a little bit," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "That’s our message to our guys. I really believe that they want to achieve so well, they want to perform so well that sometimes more is not better.
"We’re pressing. We’re pushing but sometimes it’s not always the right situation. It’s just a matter of getting back to our game. Let’s cool down. The thing that I appreciate the most from our guys is the effort but right now let’s put a little bit more focus and poise in our efforts. I think that we’re going to get back to the team that we were."
Who: Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome
When: 8 p.m.
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Tyler Seguin
urtis McKenzie – Jason Spezza – Erik Cole
Antoine Roussel – Travis Morin – Ales Hemsky
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Jyrki Jokipakka – Trevor Dale
Jamie Oleksiak – Jason Demers
Scratched: Travis Moen
Suspended: Ryan Garbutt
Injured: Jordie Benn (illness), Patrick Eaves (ankle), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)
Flames projected lineup
Joe Colborne - Sean Monahan - David Jones
Johnny Gaudreau - Josh Jooris - Jiri Hudler
Curtis Glencross - Markus Granlund - Paul Byron
Mason Raymond - Lance Bouma - Brandon Bollig
Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman
Raphael Diaz - Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Corey Potter, Matt Stajan, Brian McGrattan
Injured: Mikael Backlund (abdomen), Ladislav Smid (upper body)