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Possible Lineup Changes as Stars Look to Even Series With Ducks

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Stars coach Lindy Ruff wouldn’t talk about any lineup changes for tonight’s Game 6 against the Anaheim Ducks, but based on the morning skate it appears there could be a couple.

Erik Cole took part in line rushes, skating on a line with Chris Mueller and Valeri Nichushkin. Ruff wouldn’t say if Cole was back in.

“I’m not going to discuss whether he’s in or out,” Ruff said. “If he’s in, I need him to play hard.”

Cole has been a scratch the last three games.

“It’ll be nice to get back in the lineup and hopefully be able to contribute,” Cole said. “[Sitting out] definitely not the most enjoyable situation to be in.”

With Cole coming into the lineup, it appears Ray Whitney could sit out tonight.

Defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who missed Friday’s game with an upper body injury, skated this morning and was off the ice early while Kevin Connauton and Aaron Rome stayed on the ice late. That indicated that Nemeth likely would be in tonight.

Ruff wouldn’t say, indicating there are some question marks for the game and that Nemeth was among them.

“We got a couple guys, so we’re going to dress some extra guys for warm up and see and he’s one of them,” said Ruff.

Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice this morning, indicating that he will be in goal tonight for the Stars.

Whatever the lineup, Ruff said the Stars will need a maximum effort as they try to win tonight and force a seventh and deciding game Tuesday night in Anaheim.

“First of all, these guys have battled and worked their [butt] off all year long. I can’t ask for much more of this group,” Ruff said. “I’ve pushed hard when the tank has been almost empty. They’ve answered every call, they’ve given everything they have at every turn to try to get in the playoffs, and I’m proud of the fact that we worked hard to get there, we worked hard to come back from 2-0. We’re going to empty the tank to try to get this to 3-3, and that’s all I can ask of them.”

Power play changes

Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Saturday he was going to shake up the power play, and here were the units he rolled out Sunday morning:

Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Cody Eakin-Alex Goligoski-Trevor Daley

Shawn HorcoffColton Sceviour-Vernon Fiddler-Sergei Gonchar-Jordie Benn

The Stars power play is 2-24 in the series, and his missed on its last 18 opportunities.

“I think we might see a little of a different look today,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We’re just trying to simplify things out there, get pucks on net. We got to find a way to score goals here.”

“It’s going to take a little more patience on our part,” said Horcoff. “When we do get set up we’ve got to do a better job of getting pucks to the net, getting traffic to the net and overloading. That’s what they were able to do against us the last game and got some goals off it. It’s a big part of the game and for us to win the series it’s going to be important for us to get that going.”

Quotable: Lindy Ruff on Stars captain Jamie Benn

“He’s a fearless player. I’d invite anyone of those guys to scrap him and see how he makes out because he is tough. I’ve seen him go. So, if they want to push him past the edge, bring it on. He’s the type of guy that will back any one of his teammates, he’ll back himself and it’s a real backup. It isn’t a tuck, drop and roll. You’ll come out bloodied. The two fights I’ve seen, both guys have come out bloodied this year. He doesn’t do it often. He doesn’t do it for show. He does it for himself and he does it for his teammates.”

Ducks watch: Beleskey a game-time decision

Ducks forward Matt Beleskey, who has missed the last four games with a lower body injury, will be a game-time decision for the Ducks. Beleskey

“He’s anxious to go. There’s no doubt about that part, but we’ll check on him a little bit more to make sure,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “The last thing we need is somebody saying they want to go and halfway through the game, they can’t go. That puts you in a little bit of a pickle, so it’ll be a game-time decision.”

“I feel pretty good,” Beleskey said. “I haven’t actually got the official word if I’m in or not, but we’ll see what coaches come up with. Yeah, I felt good out there today.”

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf will be scrapping the partial cage he has been wearing since getting hit in the face with a Tyler Seguin slap shot in Game 1 of the series.

“Obviously, when the time was right for it to come off, I was going to take it off,” said Getzlaf, who revealed he had about 50 stitches to repair the damage from the puck. I wasn't just going to play with it.”

Frederik Andersen will be in goal again for Anaheim.

Tonight’s game

Who: Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars
What: Game 6, 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
Local TV: Fox Sports Southwest
National TV: NBC Sports Network, TSN2
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlex Chiasson
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerColton Sceviour
Erik ColeChris MuellerValeri Nichushkin

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley
Brenden DillonJordie Benn
Patrik NemethSergei Gonchar

Kari Lehtonen
Tim Thomas

Scratched: Ray Whitney, Kevin Connauton, Dustin Jeffrey, Aaron Rome

Injured: Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat)

Ducks projected lineup

Nick Bonino – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Saku Koivu – Jakob Silfverberg
Patrick Maroon – Mathieu Perreault – Teemu Selanne
Devante Smith-Pelly – Rickard Rakell – Matt Beleskey

Luca Sbisa – Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen – Mark Fistric

Frederik Andersen
Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Daniel Winnik

Injured: Tim Jackman (hand), Hampus Lindholm (neck), Stephane Robidas (leg fracture)

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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