The Dallas Stars will roll out close to their NHL lineup when they take on the St. Louis Blues Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Among the players in the lineup will be captain Jamie Benn and right wing Ales Hemsky, who both will play their first preseason game of 2015.
Benn and Hemsky have not played in the first four games as a precaution since both underwent offseason hip surgery. And both are ready to go tonight.
“I am excited and ready to get back in the action,” Benn said. “It will be a little bit of a different feel playing in a real game than in an intrasquad game against your teammates. I am ready to go and excited about tonight.”
“I am feeling great,” said Hemsky. “It’s nice to be back for the first game of the preseason finally. It’s been a long summer, a lot of rehab. I am happy it’s behind me and happy I can play a game.”
Benn will skate on the left wing with center Tyler Seguin and right wing Patrick Sharp. That could be the Stars’ top line to start the season. Seguin and Sharp clicked for a couple of nice goals in Saturday’s 6-3 win over Tampa Bay and Benn his hoping the three can start finding some chemistry tonight.
“They looked pretty good out there a couple games ago, and I am excited to play with those guys,” Benn said. “We are going to try to find some chemistry. It looked like they had, so we are going to see if Seggy and I still have it.”
Hemsky will be on the right wing with Jason Spezza at center and Mattias Janmark at left wing. Stars coach Lindy Ruff just wants to Hemsky and Benn play well.
“I just hope to see solid play,” Ruff said. “They are anxious to get back in; they’ve both worked extremely hard, and it’s a long process. They are going to get inside the game, see how they feel, and we are going to get a good read on them.”
The Stars will take another look at three young forwards pushing for a roster spot. Janmark, Remi Elie and Radek Faksa all will be in the lineup tonight. Faksa will center Elie and Colton Sceviour. Janmark gets that second line assignment with Spezza and Hemsky.
“It’s an opportunity to look at [Janmark] in a little bit bigger role,” Ruff said. “We’ll give him a little bit of power play time. Jason is coming back after missing a couple days, but it still should be a good opportunity for him to showcase his skills for us.”
The Stars will roll out what could be their top six defensemen to start the season. Alex Goligoski-John Klingberg, Johnny Oduya-Jason Demers and Jyrki Jokipakka-Jordie Benn are the defense pairs.
Goaltender Antti Niemi will make his second start of the preseason and is slated to play the entire game.
*The forwards and defensemen who practiced this morning but will not play tonight: Vernon Fiddler, Valeri Nichushkin, Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak.
*Forwards Curtis McKenzie and Jason Dickinson, who both are injured, skated prior to this morning’s skate in Frisco.
*Dave Strader and Daryl Reaugh will call tonight’s game on The Ticket, 1310 AM/96.7 FM.
Who: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: KTCK The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Sharp
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Patrick Eaves
Remi Elie – Radek Faksa – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jordie Benn
Blues projected roster
Forwards: David Backes, Troy Brouwer, Jordan Caron, Robby Fabbri, Scott Gomez, Dmitrij Jaskin, Steve Ott, Ryan Reaves, Jaden Schwartz, Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Scottie Upshall
Defense: Andre Benoit, Joel Edmundson, Petteri Lindbohm, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk
Goalies: Brian Elliott, Pheonix Copley
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.