Forward Remi Elie will make his NHL debut tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the Florida Panthers to open a two-game road trip.
"I am very excited," Elie said. "It's going to be a dream come true tonight."
Elie was called up from the Texas Stars to the NHL last weekend but did not play in two games before being sent back to the AHL on Wednesday. With Antoine Roussel going out of the lineup with a hand injury and Adam Cracknell still not ready to return from a lower-body injury, Elie was recalled Friday and will get into the lineup tonight with his family in Florida to watch the game.
"I've been dreaming about this all my life, and I am just happy to be here. It's exciting. My family is going to be here to watch the game," Elie said. "I am going to do my job, play my game and be hard on the forecheck."
The 21-year-old Elie, a second-round pick (40th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, is in his second year of pro hockey. He ranks sixth on Texas in scoring with 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 50 games this season.
"I really liked the way he played in the preseason and a couple of the camps," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Remi plays a hard game. He goes to the net hard, and he is strong on the puck. I like his game."
Forward Ales Hemsky, who missed Friday's practice with a lower-body injury, is questionable for tonight's game.
Kari Lehtonen is the expected starter in goal for the Stars tonight after backing up Antti Niemi the past two games.
The Stars are kicking off a stretch that will see them play 12 of their next 15 games on the road, where they are 7-18-4 on the season, including six straight regulation losses.
"[The message is] improve our road record," Ruff said. "Obviously, it's been disappointing, and we'll take it one game at a time. We'll work on getting wins on the road."
"Our record isn't cutting it right now," Stars captain Jamie Benn said of the team's road play. "Make the game as simple as possible. It's limiting our turnovers, not taking any penalties and keeping the game pretty boring."
Video: Elie ready for NHL debut
James Reimer will get the start in goal for the Panthers tonight. He's taking over for Roberto Luongo, who suffered a lower-body injury on Thursday and is expected to miss one week. Reimer is 12-8-0 with a 2.43 goals-against average and .922 save percentage this season. The Panthers, who are 1-3-1 in their past five games, come into tonight two points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Who: Dallas Stars at Florida Panthers
Where: BB&T Center
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars Projected Lineup
Jamie Benn - Jason Spezza - Tyler Seguin
Jiri Hudler - Cody Eakin - Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Remi Elie - Devin Shore - Ales Hemsky
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Greg Pateryn
Scratched: Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Antoine Roussel (hand), Adam Cracknell (lower body), Mattias Janmark (knee)
Panthers Projected Lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Reilly Smith
Thomas Vanek - Nick Bjugstad - Jonathan Marchessault
Shawn Thornton - Derek MacKenzie - Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle - Aaron Ekblad
Mark Pysyk - Alex Petrovic
Michael Matheson - Jason Demers
Scratched: Jakub Kindl, Michael Sgarbossa, Denis Malgin
Injured: Roberto Luongo (lower body)
This story was not subject to 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.