It doesn’t appear the Dallas Stars will make any lineup changes as they take on the Anaheim Ducks in Game 4 of their first round playoff series tonight at American Airlines Center.
The Stars will still be without defenseman Brenden Dillon, who will miss his fifth straight game –including fourth of the playoffs – with a lower body injury. Forward Erik Cole will sit out his second straight game as a healthy scratch. Kari Lehtonen, coming off a 37-save shutout for his first career playoff win, will be back in net.
The Stars, coming off a 3-0 win on Monday that cut Anaheim’s lead in the series to 2-1, will try to draw even tonight, turning the series into a best-of-three. The Ducks, of course, will be making a big push to take a 3-1 stranglehold on the series.
“This is a big game,” said Stars forward Alex Chiasson. “We’re down 2-1 and we can get the series even here, get it tied 2-2. I don’t think we’re worried too much about how they are going to play. We’re going to focus on our game, try to bring the same energy level that we did the last game.”
“They are up 2-1, they have home ice [in the series]. This is a game we have to have,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski.
Dillon progressing, could be ready by Game 5
Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon took part in Wednesday morning’s skate at American Airlines Center, but he is not expected to play tonight. He’s making progress and Stars coach Lindy Ruff said if all goes well Dillon could be ready to play in Game 5 Friday in Anaheim.
“Brenden is getting closer. He had a good day yesterday, he had a good day today,” said Ruff. “I would anticipate that if we get him a good practice tomorrow and get him a good workout today that there is a good chance he could play on Friday.”
Today was Dillon’s second straight day skating with the team.
“Better today than I was yesterday and better yesterday than I was the day before that,” Dillon said. “I’m just trying to do what I can here and trying to control what I can control and do my rehab and get as better as I can.”
Ducks watch: Selanne a scratch tonight
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t discuss any lineup changes with the media this morning, but Ducks forward Teemu Selanne provided some details, revealing that he would be a healthy scratch tonight.
Selanne played less than three minutes in the third period of Monday’s game, and there was speculation on Tuesday that he might not play in Game 4.
“No,” Selanne said when asked if he would play tonight. “Well, obviously we lost the last game and a lot of times, the lineup is going to be different. I didn’t think that’s anything new, but it is what it is.”
Emerson Etem, recalled from Norfolk of the AHL over the weekend, will be in the lineup.
With Stephane Robidas out of the lineup due to a fractured leg, the Ducks will need to make a change on defense. It appears former Star Mark Fistric will be taking Robidas’ spot in the lineup.
“It's up to me to go out there and play my game. Obviously, it's playoff hockey. We can’t let distractions get into our game, either,” Fistric said. “Every shift I'm going to be out there, I'm going to play the way the Anaheim Ducks want me to play and that's smart and physical and playing fast. If I go out there and do my job, then I'm going to help the team.”
Frederik Andersen will start in goal for Anaheim
Robidas may not need surgery for leg injury
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said defenseman Stephane Robidas may not need surgery for the leg fracture he suffered in Monday’s game. Robidas was injured during a collision with Stars forward Ryan Garbutt early in the second period.
“[Doctors] said that he might not need surgery, which is great news,” Boudreau said. “Other than that, it’s still in the infancy stages. Like the initial thing is that he needed surgery and the whole thing again, but as of yesterday, they didn’t think that he would need it. He’s still got a broken leg, but it’s not as bad as first thought.”
Who: Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars
What: Game 4, 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
Local TV: Fox Sports Southwest
National TV: CNBC, TSN
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin- Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Ray Whitney – Chris Mueller – Alex Chiasson
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Patrik Nemeth – Jordie Benn
Kevin Connauton – Sergei Gonchar
Scratched: Erik Cole, Aaron Rome, Dustin Jeffrey
Injured: Brenden Dillon (lower body), Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)
Ducks projected lineup
Devante Smith-Pelly – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Jakob Silfverberg - Saku Koivu – Andrew Cogliano
Patrick Maroon – Mathieu Perreault – Emerson Etem
Daniel Winnik – Nick Bonino – Kyle Palmieri
Hampus Lindholm – Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen – Mark Fistric
Scratched: Richard Rakell, Luca Sbisa, Teemu Selanne.
Injured: Matt Beleskey (lower body), Tim Jackman (hand), Stephane Robidas (leg)
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.