It looks like the Dallas Stars will be without a couple of their veteran forwards when they take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight at American Airlines Center.
Shawn Horcoff didn’t skate this morning and is out for tonight’s game.
“He’s been bit with the flu bug, so he won’t play tonight,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
Ray Whitney, who missed Tuesday’s game due to illness, skated this morning but apparently may not be ready to play tonight. That would leave the Stars with just eleven healthy forwards, so they have called up right wing Colton Sceviour from the Texas Stars of the AHL. Sceviour had a nice run during his last stint with Dallas, registering three goals and one assist in seven games.
There will be no changes on defense. Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice at this morning’s skate, so it appears he will be in net tonight for the Stars.
Gonchar getting close
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who has missed the last four games with concussion-like symptoms, skated with the team this morning. For the first time since he has been back on the ice, Gonchar was not wearing the red no-contact jersey. Ruff said Gonchar is getting closer.
“His first day out of that (the red no-contact jersey),” Ruff said. “We’re going to ramp up the physical play for him, ramp up the intensity with the workouts to get him in game-like situations on the ice and try to get him ready. He’s close. If it’s not the next game, it’ll be the game after he’d be ready.”
A stretch against the East
The Stars have put together their current seven-game points streak against some pretty stiff competition from the Western Conference. Now, they’ll be facing a steady diet of Eastern Conference opponents over the next couple weeks. They play their next six games and seven of the next eight against the East, starting with tonight’s tilt against the Montreal Canadiens at American Airlines Center.
“I told our team this morning I’m worried about the fact that we’ve gone through a tough stretch playing against tough teams, playing against the L.A.s and teams out west that have really been going well, physical teams. But we can’t let our guard down,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Montreal’s got good speed. They’re a good transition team, good special teams for the most part. Carey Price can singlehandedly win a game himself and actually both their goaltenders have been excellent, so my message for them is not for one second to take Montreal for granted. Just because we’ve got a team that’s out of the conference, don’t for one second think it’s going to be an easy game.”
Who: Montreal Canadiens at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Alex Chiasson
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Erik Cole – Rich Peverley – Valeri Nichushkin
Dustin Jeffrey – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – Brenden Dillon
Aaron Rome – Jordie Benn
Kevin Connauton – Cameron Gaunce
Canadiens projected lineup
Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – Lars Eller – Brandon Prust
Travis Moen – Ryan White - Michael Bournival
Josh Gorges – Andrei Markov
Douglas Murray – Raphael Diaz
Francis Bouillon – P.K. Subban
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.