Ray Whitney, who has missed the last five games with a groin injury, will be back in the lineup Tuesday night when the Stars take on the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center.
Whitney was back in a familiar spot in Monday’s practice, skating on the left wing with center Cody Eakin and right wing Alex Chiasson.
“Ray is back in,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We threw him back with Eaks and Chaser. He’s ready to go and we’ll put him back on our power play unit and see if he can help us there.”
Erik Cole, who had been playing with Eakin and Chiasson, skated with Vernon Fiddler and Rich Peverley on Monday.
Ruff looking to get Ellis a start soon
Kari Lehtonen’s 14th straight start didn’t go well. He gave up five goals on 18 shots and was pulled early in the third period in Saturday’s 6-1 loss at St. Louis. Ruff thinks it might be time to give Lehtonen a night off in the near future and give backup Dan Ellis a start.
“I really believe Dan is going to have to go in and play,” Ruff said. “It isn’t even so much the physical fatigue, I think it’s the mental burn on the goaltender. Although we’ve given him (Lehtonen) extra days, he had an extra day before St. Louis, a goaltender needs to sit there and enjoy where he doesn’t have the mental stress of a game. Kari’s played really well. He had a tough night, but he’s played really well in this stretch.”
Asked if Lehtonen’s night off could come Tuesday against the Ducks, Ruff wouldn’t tip his hand.
“You’re pressing me too hard now,” Ruff said, drawing laughs from the media.
Stars look to get on track at home
The Stars, who have lost their last two games, play their next three games at home. The Stars have struggled at American Airlines Center recently, going 0-2-2 in their last four contests
“More important is to focus on the next game. We’ve lost two in a row, stop it at two and get going in the other direction again,” Ruff said. “We’ve done some real good things in the games, but we haven’t won.”
The first two games of the homestand are against some stiff competition. Tuesday it is Anaheim, which leads the Pacific Division, and then on Friday it is Chicago, the top team in the Central Division.
“We’re in a tough stretch against some pretty good teams. Those are the teams we are going to have to beat to move up in the standings,” said Stars forward Shawn Horcoff. “We put together one pretty good streak together before, we’ve fallen off a little bit here, but we have to put another together. That is all there is to it.”
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Ray Whitney – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson
Erik Cole – Vernon Fiddler – Rich Peverley
Antoine Roussel /Dustin Jeffrey– Shawn Horcoff – Ryan Garbutt
Brenden Dillon – Stephane Robidas
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Sergei Gonchar
Aaron Rome – Kevin Connauton
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.