The Dallas Stars held an optional practice in Frisco Monday afternoon before departing for St. Louis for the next two games of their playoff series with the Blues, which is tied 1-1 after St. Louis overtime win on Sunday.
There was some positive news on the injury front as both Tyler Seguin (lower body) and Patrick Eaves (leg) skated in full gear before practice.
“Both progressing,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.
Asked if either player would travel with the team to St. Louis, Ruff had this to say: “No, but they have flights into St. Louis every day.”
Eaves missed Game 2 against St. Louis Sunday after getting hit in the lower leg with a puck late in Game 1 against the Blues on Friday. He was on crutches Saturday.
Seguin hasn’t played since Game 2 of the first-round series with Minnesota when he suffered an injury related to the Achilles injury that kept him out the final ten games of the regular season and the first game against Minnesota.
“I see him here every day working hard,” Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen said. “I am sure he is sick of everybody asking how he is doing today. If he is able to come back, it would be huge for our team. We all hope that is going to happen.”
Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he has made a decision on a starting goaltender for Tuesday’s Game 3 in St. Louis. No surprise, he’s not tipping his hand.
“I’ll let you guys know [who it is] about five minutes after warm-up tomorrow,” he said.
Ruff said his decision-making process is the same one he has used all season.
“I’m going to remain consistent with what brought us success through the regular season,” Ruff said.
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who was pulled Sunday after allowing three goals on five shots in the first period, said he and fellow goaltender Antti Niemi are used to the rotating of goaltenders. It’s been par for the course since the beginning of the regular season.
“We’ll just keep pushing each other, and when we get a chance to play, we’ll go do our best,” Lehtonen said.
The Dallas Stars recalled forwards Curtis McKenzie and Brett Ritchie from the Texas Stars of the AHL Saturday after Texas was knocked out of the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he is considering getting McKenzie or Ritchie into the lineup for Game 3.
“Giving that some thought, get them a good skate today,” Ruff said. “There’s an opportunity where those guys are at my disposal.”
McKenzie and Ritchie said they are both ready to go.
“That would [be cool] for sure,” Ritchie said of possibly making his NHL playoff debut. “That was on the bucket list when I was a little kid.”
“They just told us to be ready. You never know what happens in the playoffs,” McKenzie said. “I am confident in my game if I am needed here.”
After Monday’s practice the Stars headed to St. Louis for Game 3 (Tuesday) and Game 4 (Thursday). The Stars won two of three road games in their first-round series against Minnesota and are comfortable away from home. The Blues will have the last change and get the matchups they want, but Stars center Jason Spezza that’s not a big deal to the Stars.
“We’re not a big matchup team, so teams will try to match up differently against us. It doesn’t affect us maybe as much as it does other teams,” said Spezza. “We don’t change our game plan, we don’t change anything, we haven’t all year. We’re just going to make sure we’re ready. They’re going to get a little jolt from the crowd there; it’s a tough building to play in, but I think we’re up for the challenge, and we’re looking to get a little redemption for last game.”
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.