The Dallas Stars looked healthier than they had 24 hours earlier at Tuesday morning’s skate at American Airlines Center. Tyler Seguin (illness), Jamie Benn (undisclosed) and Vernon Fiddler (lower body) – who all missed Monday’s practice – were on the ice and took part in line rushes Tuesday morning.
But it’s not clear all three will play. Stars coach Lindy Ruff indicated that one of the players remains a question mark going into tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
“They all seem to be doing a lot better,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We’ll dress an extra guy for warm-up and make sure that everybody’s a full go. A couple that I think ready to go and one that’s still in doubt.”
Seguin, who went home sick Monday, said he was feeling better.
“A lot more energy today,” Seguin said. “I had a bit of the flu, but I have a lot more energy today.”
It appears that the defense will be the same as Saturday’s game against Colorado. Based on this morning’s skate, David Schlemko is expected to be in the lineup for the second straight game and Jamie Oleksiak appears to be the scratch.
Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice for Dallas, so he is expected to be in goal tonight for the Stars.
Tonight’s game is a big one for Stars center Jason Spezza, who will be facing his former team for the first time since the offseason trade that brought him to Dallas. Spezza spent his first 11 NHL seasons with the Senators.
“I think it’s nice to catch up and see everybody. It’ll be different, being on the other side,” Spezza said. “But it’s long enough into the season now where I’m a Dallas Star and I feel like this is my team, so it’ll be different going back to Ottawa. I think it’ll probably be a little more nostalgic, but here it’s more a good opportunity to catch up and looking forward to trying to get a win tonight.”
The Stars will try to end a four-game winless streak when they take on the Senators. They come into tonight’s game seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Senators watch: Chiasson returns
Tuesday’s game is a big one for Ottawa forward Alex Chiasson. He’ll be facing the Stars for the first time since being traded to the Senators as part of the Jason Spezza deal. Chiasson played 86 games for the Stars, registering 42 points (23 goals, 19 assists).
“Mixed emotion for sure,” Chiasson said. “I didn’t think it was going to be like that. I thought it was going to be just any regular road game. I honestly didn’t get much sleep last night. This organization really gave me my first chance and as a player, you have to appreciate that. Not everyone gets to play in the NHL and when Joe Nieuwendyk was here, gave me my first chance and Jim Nill helped me a lot last year with the coaching staff. I have a lot of good friends on the other team, guys that know what we went through last year. With all the ups and downs, we made it to playoff. You can’t forget about the friendships and the guy you battled next to. Maybe the first shift tonight will be just make it a quick one and I’m sure it will turn into a regular game.”
Chiasson is expected to skate on Ottawa’s top line tonight. He has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 38 games.
“I feel like my game has improved a lot this year, feel a lot more confident on the ice, important role on the team and I like where I’m at,” he said. “Obviously, you’d like to produce a little more, but it’s a progress and you got to stick with it sometimes. It feels like things go easier, sometimes it’s a little harder, so it’s part of the battle.”
Robin Lehner will get the start in goal for the Senators. He is 6-6-2 with a 3.03 goals against average and .904 save percentage.
Who: Ottawa Senators at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Channel Guide)
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Brett Ritchie
Erik Cole – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
David Schlemko – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Jason Demers
Scratch: Travis Moen, Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: Patrick Eaves (ankle), Valeri Nichushkin (hip), Patrik Nemeth (arm)
Senators projected lineup
Clarke MacArthur – Kyle Turris - Alex Chiasson
Mike Hoffman – Mika Zibanejad– Bobby Ryan
Zybnek Michalek – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Curtis Lazar
Erik Condra – David Legwand – Mark Stone
Mark Methot – Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen – Cody Ceci
Chris Phillips – Eric Gryba
Scratched: Colin Greening, Patrick Wiercioch.
Injured: Mark Borowiecki (leg), Chris Neil (knee), Zack Smith (wrist).
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.