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Morning skate: Stars look to get back on track vs. Canucks

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars will try to get back on track tonight when they take on the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center.

The Stars are coming off a 7-4 loss to Ottawa Tuesday. It was a game where several miscues led to prime scoring opportunities for the Senators, who scored six goals on their first 15 shots.

“We’ve got to get focused on defense again. We can’t be giving up six and seven goals in a game. We’re not going to win like that in any game,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We’ve had a couple days to evaluate our play in the last game and learn from it.”

The loss to the Senators also served as a wake-up call to the Stars, who had been on a roll coming into that game.

“It brings you back down to earth. You learn that any team can come in here and whip your butt,” Benn said. “It was embarrassing for us, especially in our home rink and in front of our home fans. We don’t want that to happen again.”

The Stars (17-5-0) have been good at bouncing back from losses. They have yet to lose consecutive games this season.

“I feel we get back to playing just solid two-way hockey. We’ve been good at getting right back to the game we need to play, so it’s led to success for us,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Antti Niemi will get the start in goal. With Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, Jack Campbell will serve as the backup. The Stars placed Lehtonen on IR retroactive to Tuesday, so he is expected to miss at least tonight’s game and Saturday’s game in Minnesota. Ruff said he’ll take the goaltending situation game-by-game.

“I think we’ll take it day-to-day to see what the workload looks like, we’ll see how Antti feels,” Ruff said. “If need be, we’ll give Jack a game. We’ll just read it and see how it goes.”

Jason Demers, who missed Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury, will be back in on defense. Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth, who was recalled from his conditioning assignment in AHL on Thursday, both skated late this morning and are the expected scratches on defense.

There are no changes expected in the forward line combinations. The lines at this morning’s skate were the same as those used to start Tuesdays’ game. Travis Moen skated late and is the expected scratch up front.

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who is out with an upper-body injury, skated Friday morning in Frisco.

“Kari was out [skating],” Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Kari feels good.

Ruff said a decision hasn’t been made yet if Lehtonen will travel with the team when it leaves for Minnesota after tonight’s game with Vancouver.

We’ll see,” Ruff said. “I think he’ll travel though.”

With Kari Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell will back up Antti Niemi in goal tonight. The Stars recalled Campbell from Texas (AHL) Thursday.

“I am just happy to be here and help in any way that I can,” Campbell said. “It’s pretty exciting anytime you get the call.”

It’s been a rough start to the season for Campbell, Dallas’ first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft. Campbell was injured when he took a puck off the knuckle at a morning skate during Dallas training camp and missed the first month of Texas’ season.

“It was tough,” he said. “I worked so hard this summer, had a good camp and was ready to roll out there. It was a setback, and everybody has setbacks. It’s just a matter of coming back and playing well.”

After returning to action earlier this month, Campbell gave up 17 goals in his first four starts, but has played well in his last two games, stopping 47 of 51 shots in helping lead Texas to a pair of wins to open a four-game road trip in California this week.

“The last couple I got the rust off,” Campbell said. “I still have a lot better to play. I am just trying to get better every day.”

Ryan Miller will get the start in goal tonight for the Canucks. He is coming off a 31-save effort in Vancouver’s 3-2 win at Minnesota on Wednesday. Miller is 7-7-5 with a 2.51 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said the Canucks will need to keep the Stars’ speed in check tonight.

“They’re so good offensively. They just have a lot of talent. They have a lot of speed,” Desjardins said. “Once they get going, they’re hard to stop. When they get going and things start flowing for them, they’re hard to stop. We have to make sure we’re going to execute today. We’ve got to make sure we do a good job trying to control their speed.”

Who: Vancouver Canucks at Dallas Stars

Where: American Airlines Center

When: 7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Sharp

Mattias JanmarkJason SpezzaPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselCody EakinValeri Nichushkin

Colton SceviourVernon FiddlerAles Hemsky

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Jyrki JokipakkaJordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Jack Campbell

Kari Lehtonen (upper body)

Scratched: Travis Moen, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen

Chris Higgins - Jared McCann – Radim Vrbata

Alexandre Burrows - Bo Horvat – Sven Baertschi

Brandon Prust – Adam Cracknell - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler – Chris Tanev

Dan Hamhuis – Yannick Weber

Luca Sbisa - Matt Bartkowski

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Injured: Ben Hutton (lower body), Brandon Sutter (abdominal)

Scratched: Andrey Pedan, Jake Virtanen

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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