Lindback was the first goaltender off the ice at this morning’s skate, an indication that he will make his first NHL start since Nov. 29 at Colorado.
His last appearance was Dec. 21 when he took over in the second period for Kari Lehtonen and stopped nine of ten shots as the Stars rallied to defeat the Oilers, 6-5, in a shootout. In between those two games, he had a strong five-game stint in the AHL. He posted a 3-2-0 record, 1.59 goals against average and .946 save percentage.
“I got some games and I’ve been feeling good. The team has been playing solid, so I am excited to get in there and help out,” Lindback said after this morning’s skate. “I got a little bit of a rhythm and I calmed things down, the game coming to you instead of chasing it. It is easy to say, but it is hard to do. I have a good feeling, and I am just going to try to go out and execute tonight.”
This will be Lindback’s fifth start with Dallas this season.
“He had a real good stint down there (in the AHL), played well, stepped in at Edmonton and played well for us,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “He’s a workaholic. Day in and day out, he does probably more than enough work.”
Based on this morning’s skate, the Stars forward lines and defense pairs should remain the same as the last game.
Shawn Horcoff, who has missed the past three games due to illness, skated this morning but is not expected to play.
“Shawn’s doing good,” Ruff said. “He was trying to convince me he was ready to play already and I was trying to convince him maybe a couple practice days would be good. I think the great thing about Shawn is he wants to play and he’s doing good again.”
Defenseman David Schlemko, claimed off waivers from Arizona over the weekend, will be a healthy scratch tonight. Ruff said he likes the way his defense is playing right now.
“Just going to evaluate how our D are playing. Right now, as well as our defense has played and our young D have played, I think [Jamie] Oleksiak has played some of his best hockey these last two games,” Ruff said. “But right now, where he’s at we’re going to work on his off-ice and his conditioning to make sure that when he does step in, he’s ready to play. We’ve had a couple defensemen that have been a little bit banged up. If that goes the other direction, it’ll be easy for him to step in and take one of those guy’s spot.”
Blue Jackets watch: Connauton returns
Defenseman Kevin Connauton will face the Stars for the first time since being claimed off waivers by the Blue Jackets back in November.
“It’s a little weird being on the other side but it is good. It’s a familiar spot and I am excited for tonight,” Connauton said.
Connauton, who played 44 NHL games for Dallas, has been productive for the Blue Jackets, posting nine points (five goals, four assists) in 17 games. Connauton was a healthy scratch in nine of 17 games while in Dallas. He’s played in 17 of 19 games since joining Columbus.
“It’s nice being in the lineup on a consistent basis,” he said. “I just looked at it as the Blue Jackets gave me an opportunity and I had to prove to them that they made the right choice to pick me up. That’s an ongoing process. Still a long way to go and something I am working at every day.”
Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to get the start in goal for Columbus. Forwards Cam Atkinson and Mark Letestu return from injury.
Who: Columbus Blue Jackets 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 Benn – Tyler Seguin – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Travis Moen – Vernon Fiddler – Brett Ritchie
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Scratched: David Schlemko
Injured: Shawn Horcoff (illness), Patrick Eaves (ankle), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)
Blue Jackets projected lineup
Scott Hartnell – Ryan Johansen – Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert – Brandon Dubinsky – Cam Atkinson
Sean Collins – Alexander Wennberg – Jack Skille
Jeremy Morin – Mark Letestu – Jared Boll
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Kevin Connauton – James Wisniewski
Cody Goloubef - Fedor Tyutin
Scratched: Jordan Leopold, Dalton Prout, Corey Tropp.
Injured: Artem Anisimov (torn biceps), Brian Gibbons (knee), Nathan Horton (back), Boone Jenner (back), Ryan Murray (knee).
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.