Stars coach Lindy Ruff called Klingberg, who has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury, a game-time decision, but all signs pointed to Klingberg returning to the lineup tonight and likely starting on the third pair with Patrik Nemeth.
“I think the top four that have been playing well would stay together, and if [Klingberg] plays tonight we’ll sort of ease him in,” Ruff said. “Play him a little bit of special teams and play him in the five spot.”
The Stars held an optional skate, so there were no line rushes. In Friday’s practice, however, Cody Eakin centered Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp, and Jason Spezza had Valeri Nichushkin and Patrick Eaves on his wings.
Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice, so he is expected in goal tonight. It will be the eighth start in the past nine games for Lehtonen.
Travis Moen and Jamie Oleksiak skated late, so they appear to be tonight’s healthy scratches. Jordie Benn (lower body) and Mattias Janmark (upper body) both skated this morning, but remain out. Ruff said Janmark could return early next week. Benn is believed to be close as well.
Seguin hopes to return for game one of playoffs
Stars center Tyler Seguin was at the American Airlines Center this morning and talked to the media about the cut to his Achilles tendon that will sideline him 3-4 weeks.
Seguin was injured on the last shift of Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay when he went to check Anton Stralman and was cut by the skate of the Lightning defenseman. He had surgery Friday morning.
“I went to hit the guy, and right away I felt it and knew right away it was a skate,” Seguin said. “It really didn’t hurt much at the time, so I kept playing. There were only 20 seconds left. Then I started to feel a bit of squishiness, so I knew it was bleeding. I don’t know if anyone has seen the horror movie “Hostel,” but that was going through my head. I just wanted to put pressure on it. Jamie [Benn] thought I was coming over to give him a high-five, but I was saying ‘Give me your hand, help me off the ice.’ The pain wasn’t that bad, obviously the surgery doesn’t feel that great, at the time it was alright.”
Three to four weeks puts a possible return right about the time the regular season ends and the playoffs begin.
“We haven’t talked about goals [for a return] much, but personally, I can’t picture myself missing game one [of the playoffs],” Seguin said. “Even if I come back for the last game of the regular season that would be quite the goal for me. There’s a long way to go until then, so I am looking forward to getting better.”
For now, Seguin said, he’ll rest up for a few days and then start the rehab process.
“They don’t want me coming to the rink for the first few days, just say off it and let it heal,” Seguin said. “It’s about not losing any muscle and keeping everything activated. I’ll start doing upper body pretty quickly and hopefully get on the bike in the next week or so.”
Thomas Greiss will get the start in goal tonight for the Islanders. Greiss is 19-8-4 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. Center Casey Cizikas will return to the lineup after missing one game due to injury. The Islanders, who lost 4-2 to Nashville on Thursday, are 1-2-2 in their past five games.
Who: New York Islanders at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars Projected Lineup
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin – Jason Spezza – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Ales Hemsky
Colton Sceviour – Vernon Fiddler – Brett Ritchie
Kris Russell – Alex Goligoski
Johnny Oduya – Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth – John Klingberg
Injured: Tyler Seguin (Achilles), Mattias Janmark (upper body), Jordie Benn (lower body), Jason Demers (shoulder)
Scratched: Travis Moen, Jamie Oleksiak
Islanders Projected Lineup
Brock Nelson – John Tavares – Ryan Strome
Josh Bailey – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
Shane Prince – Nikolay Kulemin – Anders Lee
Matt Martin – Casey Cizikas – Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy – Johnny Boychuk
Calvin de Haan – Travis Hamonic
Thomas Hickey – Brian Strait
Injured: Jaroslav Halak (groin), Marek Zidlicky (upper body), Adam Pelech (upper body), Mikhail Grabovski (undisclosed)
Scratched: Eric Boulton, Steve Bernier, Ryan Pulock
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.