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Shawn Horcoff Returns, Brett Ritchie on Top Line vs. Predators

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars will make some lineup adjustments tonight as they take on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

With Shawn Horcoff coming back in to the lineup, somebody has to come out, and it appears it will be Colton Sceviour.

Sceviour had been playing on the top line with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Expected to be on the top line tonight is Brett Ritchie, who has been impressive in his first four NHL games. Ritchie, who has three points (two goals, one assist) in those four games, got some time on that top line Tuesday against Columbus.

“He’s played well. He’s created good opportunities,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He drew some penalties last game and I thought he skated well. He’s been a good weapon for us.”

Horcoff returns after missing four games due to illness. He is expected to play on a line with Vernon Fiddler and Travis Moen.

“He was playing well before he went out,” Ruff said of Horcoff. “That line was doing a lot of good things for us and hopefully he steps in and doesn’t miss a stride.”

Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice at this morning’s skate, an indication that he will get the start in goal tonight.

The Stars will face a stiff test tonight in Nashville. The Predators are tied for second in the NHL in points (56), have the league’s best points percentage (.718) and are an impressive 15-2-1 at home this season. The Predators rank second in the league in goals against at 2.23 per game.

“[Goaltender] Pekka Rinne has played really well for these guys. We are going to have to get traffic, second opportunities,” Ruff said. “We’ve got to make sure we get inside because when that guy sees it, he’s had a heck of a year.”

Predators watch: Neal, Nystrom to IR

Pekka Rinne will get the start in goal for the Predators, who are on a six-game points streak (4-0-2). Nashville placed forwards James Neal (lower body) and Eric Nystrom (undisclosed) on injured reserve. Miikka Salomaki, recalled from Milwaukee (AHL), is expected to make his NHL debut tonight.

Thursday’s game

Who: Dallas Stars at Nashville Predators
Where: Bridgestone Arena
Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinBrett Ritchie
Erik ColeJason SpezzaAles Hemsky
Antoine RousselCody EakinRyan Garbutt
Shawn HorcoffVernon FiddlerTravis Moen

Alex GoligoskiJohn Klingberg
Jamie OleksiakTrevor Daley
Jordie BennJason Demers

Kari Lehtonen
Anders Lindback

Scratched: Colton Sceviour, David Schlemko

Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith
Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Mark Arcobello
Miikka Salomaki - Calle Jarnkrok - Olli Jokinen
Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Viktor Stalberg

Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis
Victor Bartley - Seth Jones

Pekka Rinne
Carter Hutton

Scratched: Anton Volchenkov

Injured: James Neal (lower body), Matt Cullen (upper body), Taylor Beck (illness), Eric Nystrom (undisclosed)

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.

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