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Morning Skate: Lehtonen in goal, Eaves returns as Stars take on Canadiens

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Kari Lehtonen is expected to make his third straight start tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Lehtonen has played well recently, stopping 56 of 60 shots over his past three appearances including a 28-minute relief appearance against Nashville last week.

Patrick Eaves will be back in the lineup after missing the past seven games due to a bout with the pneumonia. Eaves skated on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin this morning. That’s the line he was skating on when he went out of the lineup on Feb. 20.

“They had some good chemistry and were playing well before he got sick,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “[Eaves] has a great shot. He goes to the net, stays around the net. It’s a good complement to those two guys.”

The other three forward line combinations will be the same as last game. Brett Ritchie and Travis Moen are expected to be the healthy scratches at forward. Patrick Sharp remains out with a lower-body injury.

The Stars will go with the same six defensemen and same pairs as last game. John Klingberg and Jordie Benn remain out with lower-body injuries.

The Stars, who are looking for their third straight win, will take on a Montreal team that is coming off a 0-3-1 road trip and has gone 13-26-4 since goaltender Carey Price went out with an injury in late November. And the injuries have continued to pile up for the Canadiens, who have seven players on injured reserve. That means some young players have been getting a look in Montreal.

“The challenge is you have a lot of young guys that are trying to make an impression. I think their compete has been really good, and they’ve been really tight the last three or four games,” Ruff said. “Our goal is to stay tight and play our game and make sure we don’t get loose with the way we play.”

Ben Scrivens is the expected starter in goal for the Canadiens tonight. Scrivens is 3-6-0 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .901 save percentage for Montreal this season. Forward Alex Galchenyuk, who missed practiced Monday and was questionable, will play tonight against the Stars. Forward Lars Eller is a game-time decision and forward Brendan Gallagher is out due to a lower-body injury suffered on Saturday.

Who: Dallas Stars at Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre

When: 6:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaValeri Nichushkin

Antoine RousselCody EakinAles Hemsky

Radek FaksaVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour

Kris Russell
Alex Goligoski

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Patrik NemethJamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

John Klingberg (lower body), Patrick Sharp (lower body), Jordie Benn (lower body)

Scratched: Brett Ritchie, Travis Moen

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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