The Dallas Stars close out the regular season tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. There’s nothing at stake for the Stars, who wrapped up a playoff stop on Friday, but coach Lindy Ruff said he is trying to keep things as normal as possible.
“You just approach it as a normal game. That’s the best thing to do,” Ruff said. “You talk about how you want to play, compete hard. The worst thing you can do is take the game for granted because bad things can happen. I talked to the team about being ready to play and keeping it as normal as possible.”
The Stars will rest some players. Kari Lehtonen will get the night off and Tim Thomas will start in goal. Jamie Benn won’t play and it appears Trevor Daley will get the night off as well.
“Some of it is based on play and some of it is being a little bit nicked up,” Ruff said. “In Jamie’s case, he’s played a lot of hockey and he didn’t have the time off other guys had. He’s been fighting through a little bit of an injury, so it is a good time to let him freshen up.”
Kevin Connauton and Aaron Rome will be in on defense. Rome hasn’t played since March 29 and Connauton hasn’t played since March 25, so Ruff wants to get them plenty of ice time tonight to be ready for the playoffs if they are needed.
“We’d like to get both those guys big minutes, we’d like to see it around 20 minutes for both guys,” Ruff said.
Brenden Dillon, who left Friday’s game with a lower body injury, did not skate Sunday. Ruff said he anticipates Dillon being ready for the playoffs.
“He’s day to day. He’ll probably skate on Tuesday and if things go well I anticipate he’ll play,” Ruff said.
Ray Whitney, who has missed the last five games with a lower body injury, continues to skate and is listed as day to day.
Stars-Ducks to begin on Wednesday
The Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks will open the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 9 p.m. Wednesday night at Honda Center in Anaheim. The rest of the schedule will be released late Sunday or early Monday.
Who: Dallas Stars at Phoenix Coyotes
Where: Jobing.com Arena, Glendale
When: 8:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Shawn Horcoff – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Erik Cole – Vernon Fiddler – Alex Chiasson
Chris Mueller – Dustin Jeffrey – Colton Sceviour
Jordie Benn – Alex Goligoski
Aaron Rome – Sergei Gonchar
Patrik Nemeth – Kevin Connauton
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.