There are no expected lineup changes for the Dallas Stars tonight as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center. It will be the same group of players that the Stars used in Tuesday night’s victory in Columbus.
Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal. Stars coach Lindy Ruff is going with some of the line adjustments he made late in Tuesday’s game. Erik Cole is on the second line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky while Patrick Eaves slides down to the fourth line.
Spezza and Hemsky are still trying to get on track. Both players have just one point each in the first three games, a power play assist on opening night.
“It’s going to be about trying to get inside a little bit more, working a little bit harder as a group. I think that is the key,” Ruff said. “It’s not one or two of them. The three forwards have to work together a little bit better.
“I’ve got to have some patience. It took Tyler [Seguin] and Jamie [Benn] a little time to really find their groove playing together. [Spezza and Hemsky] have come from different systems and they’ve come from playing against teams that play with less structure inside of a game, where sometimes you have more time to go back and wheel, and there are teams here through the neutral zone that are very structured and very tough to play against. You’ve got to be in the right place if you want to get something done. If you start swinging away too many times and our D don’t have enough time to make a play, we don’t have enough people in good position for support. So I think that part of their game will come. They are going to be very important players for us. I have no doubt about that.”
The Penguins are off to a 2-0-0 start and have scored 11 goals and registered 80 shots in those two victories. They’ve allowed six goals, five of them on the power play.
With both the Penguins and Stars liking to push the pace, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said it is pretty clear what kind of game you’ll see tonight.
“I expect it to be pretty quick,” Crosby said. “From playing them in the past and knowing how they play, they play really aggressive. Both teams like to skate and establish that type of game. I would expect it to be back and forth here tonight.”
Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to get the start in goal for Pittsburgh.
Who: Dallas Stars at Pittsburgh Penguins
Where: CONSOL Energy Center
When: 6 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Colton Sceviour
Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Patrick Eaves
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Kevin Connauton – Patrik Nemeth
Scratched: LW Curtis McKenzie, D Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip), D Sergei Gonchar (ankle)
LTIR: C Rich Peverley (heart)
Penguins projected lineup
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Evgeni Malkin – Brandon Sutter – Pascal Dupuis
Blake Comeau – Marcel Goc – Steve Downie
Craig Adams – Nick Spaling – Zach Sill
Christian Ehrhoff – Paul Martin
Olli Maatta – Kris Letang
Simon Despres – Rob Scuderi
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.