Here are the key news items out of this morning’s skate as the Dallas Stars prepared to take on the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
*Stars forward Tyler Seguin is out for tonight’s game and is day to day with an issue related to his Achilles injury.
*Stars defenseman Kris Russell is doubtful due to illness.
On Seguin, he is not with the team in Minnesota.
“He’s just back in Dallas doing a little more rehab,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “He’s day to day. It’s related to his injury. We’ll just take it day by day and see where he’s at.”
Seguin, who missed the final ten regular season games and the playoff opener against the Wild due to a cut to his Achilles tendon, returned for Saturday’s game and played just under 16 minutes. Ruff was asked if Seguin reinjured himself playing in the game.
“Not his injury, but it is kind of related,” Ruff said. “Might be kind of a fallout of all of a sudden playing at a high pace.”
With Seguin going out after just one game back, it raised the question if he should have returned Saturday.
“He was ready,” Ruff said. “His declaration was he was ready to play, felt great, and then it becomes my decision. It was my decision to play him because I felt he looked good in the couple of previous practices, we got him a couple of extra ones. He just irritated something that rendered him not effective.”
Russell did not skate with the team this morning, and Ruff said it is “unlikely” the Dallas defenseman will play tonight. If Russell doesn’t go, it appears Jordie Benn – a healthy scratch in the first two games of the series – will come into the lineup and play on the third defensive pair with Jason Demers.
As for the forwards, Mattias Janmark – a healthy scratch in Game 2 – will come back in and skate on the second line with Jason Spezza and Valeri Nichushkin. Patrick Sharp will go back to the top line with Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin.
Kari Lehtonen is expected to make a third straight start in goal.
The Stars, who lead the series 2-0, expect a big push from the Wild, who need a win to avoid falling into a big hole in the best-of-seven series.
“It’s going to be another level from last game,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “They don’t want to go down 3-0, they are coming home, and I am sure it is going to be exciting for them and their fans. I am sure this place will be rocking, so we’ve got to expect an even better effort than what we saw in Game 2.”
The Wild could make some lineup changes at forward tonight, possibly bringing in some size and physicality with Kurtis Gabriel, who was recalled from Iowa of the AHL. Gabriel racked up 137 penalty minutes with Iowa this season and tied for fifth in the AHL with 15 fighting majors.
“Hard working kid, good on the walls, physical, likes to fight,” Wild coach John Torchetti said. “The kind of player you like.”
It’s desperation time for the Wild. They need a win tonight to avoid going down 3-0 in the series. They are hoping for a boost from home-ice advantage and the hometown crowd.
“I feel we owe it to the fans to play a great game for them,” Torchetti said. “We don’t want to be going into the fourth game down 3-0, so it’s pretty much a desperate game for us that we have to play. I think we have to play for each other, and that should motivate us and give us an opportunity to win the game.”
Who: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild
Where: Xcel Energy Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Southwest/CNBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Patrick Sharp
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Ales Hemsky
Colton Sceviour – Vernon Fiddler – Patrick Eaves
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Stephen Johns
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Injured: Tyler Seguin (Achilles), Kris Russell (illness)
Scratched: Travis Moen, Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth
Mikael Granlund – Mikko Koivu – David Jones
Jason Zucker – Charlie Coyle – Justin Fontaine
Nino Niederreiter – Erik Haula – Jason Pominville
Kurtis Gabriel – Zac Dalpe – Chris Porter
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella – Nate Prosser
Jonas Brodin – Matt Dumba
Injured: Zach Parise (upper body), Thomas Vanek (upper body)
Scratched: Jarret Stoll, Ryan Carter, Jordan Schroeder, Mike Reilly
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.