It looks like Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin could be back sooner than previously thought. He may return tonight when the Stars take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay.
“He’s a possibility,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We are going to have him go for warm-up and we’ll make him a game-time decision.”
Seguin has been out since February 13 when he suffered a knee injury after a low-bridge hit from Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. Seguin said the initial thought was that he would be out four to six weeks. A return on Saturday would put him back in the lineup in a little more than three weeks.
“My goal was to get on this trip,” Seguin said on Thursday. “Right after the injury, they said five to seven weeks, four to six weeks or whatever. But I looked at this goal of three to three-and-half weeks. I reached that goal, and I am excited about that.”
Seguin has missed ten games with the injury, and the Stars have gone 3-5-2 during that stretch.
“I think sometimes coming off that injury is a tough one, the first few back,” Ruff said. “He’s obviously a guy that can help us and we can use whatever help we can get.”
Jhonas Enroth was the first goaltender off the ice for the Stars, so he is expected to get the start in goal tonight. The Stars are looking for their first win in a start by a backup goaltender this season. They are 0-12-0 in games started by goaltenders other than Kari Lehtonen this season.
The Stars come into tonight with two straight wins under their belts, but they’ll face a stiff test from Tampa Bay. The Lightning are 25-16-1 at home this season and are 14-2-0 in their past 16 games at Amalie Arena.
“It’s a group that is happy that we’ve found ways to win, and obviously we need the points big,” said Ruff, whose team is eight points out of the final playoff spot in the West. “We’ve got to pick up points on the road, and the road is a tough place. This is a tough building, and they have been really playing well here. It’s another big test ahead of us.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy is the expected starter in goal for Tampa Bay tonight. The 20-year-old is 5-3-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. Vasilevskiy stopped 33 of 36 shots in the Lightning’s 5-3 win over the Stars in Dallas on Feb. 5. Tampa Bay comes into tonight’s game two points behind Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Who: Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning
Where: Amalie Arena
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Colton Sceviour – Vernon Fiddler – Ales Hemsky
Curtis McKenzie – Shawn Horcoff – Brett Ritchie
Tyler Seguin (game-time decision)
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Trevor Daley (lower body), Travis Moen (upper body), Valeri Nichushkin (hip)
Lightning projected lineup
Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin
Brenden Morrow - Brian Boyle - Vladislav Namestnikov
Anton Stralman - Victor Hedman
Braydon Coburn - Jason Garrison
Mark Barberio - Andrej Sustr
Scratched: Nikita Nesterov
Injured: Matthew Carle (abdominal surgery), J.T. Brown (upper body), Mattias Ohlund (knee)
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.