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Ruff Shuffles His Forward Lines

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Stars coach Lindy Ruff did some rearranging of his forward lines for Monday’s practice session in Frisco, and the most significant change is he broke up a line he’s kept intact for most of the season – the Cody Eakin line.

He moved Ryan Garbutt to the left wing on a line with Eakin and Alex Chiasson. Ray Whitney, who had been playing left wing on that line, skated with Vernon Fiddler and Rich Peverley.

Ruff, asked about the juggling after Monday’s practice, had this explanation.

“We were in yesterday and looked at the 5-on-5 play and the 5-on-5 production, and even Whitney, Eakin and Chiasson,” he said. “They had a set goal off a breakout in Montreal and even Whits goal (in Ottawa), Eakin wasn’t on the ice. Chaser has had some great opportunities, but hasn’t finished.

“Going on the road, even going on this last road trip, we tried to balance the lines out, and hope for a little depth of scoring. It was something we wanted to take a look at today, tomorrow is going to be more a special teams day, but it is something we’d like to try.”

Valeri Nichushkin was moved to the top line again, skating on the right wing with center Tyler Seguin and left wing Jamie Benn. Shawn Horcoff centered Antoine Roussel and Erik Cole. Lane MacDermid took shifts on that line as well.

The defense pairs were mixed throughout practice, but it appears Ruff could stick with the pairs he used the last game.

Here was the practice lineup for Monday’s practice.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin
Ryan Garbutt
Cody EakinAlex Chiasson
Ray Whitney
Vernon FiddlerRich Peverley
Antoine Roussel
/Lane MacDermidShawn HorcoffErik Cole

Brenden DillonStephane Robidas
Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn
Sergei Gonchar
Aaron Rome

Kari Lehtonen
Dan Ellis

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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