The Carolina Hurricanes will wrap up a short two-game Mentor’s road trip with a late afternoon meeting against the Dallas Stars. Just a week following the Canes 3-0 home win over the Stars, Carolina will hope to complete the season sweep with a welcomed new addition to the lineup. Jordan Staal is returning from concussion symptoms and will see his first action since December 22nd.
Staal’s return comes after the Canes posted an 18-8-1 record in his absence, and provides Rod Brind’Amour with a different lineup than the one he has counted on basically since the arrival of Nino Niederreiter in January.
Rod Brind’Amour confirmed Curtis McElhinney as tonight’s starter, and said that Saku Maenalanen is likely to serve as the healthy scratch, but there are a couple of game-time decisions that will be made after the warmup that could result in Maenalanen playing.
Here is the Canes’ projected lineup:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Justin Williams
Micheal Ferland - Jordan Staal - Teuvo Teravainen
Jordan Martinook - Lucas Wallmark - Andrei Svechnikov
Warren Foegele - Greg McKegg - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Injuries and Scratches: Saku Maenalanen (Healthy)
Though he is unlikely to make it to Dallas in time for tonight’s contest, the Stars did pull off another move to fortify their defensive group by adding Ben Lovejoy from the New Jersey Devils. The Stars are clinging to an Western Conference wild card position currently, and have been led by an elite level of goal prevention that a veteran defenseman and noted penalty-killer like Lovejoy can only help.
The Stars are also likely to get help in net in the form of a returning Ben Bishop this weekend. With Dallas on the front end of a back-to-back, it is unclear which game he will play, but his return will certainly help fellow netminder Anton Khudobin, who has taken on the full load in his nearly three-week absence.
Alexander Radulov is a late scratch due to illness. The Stars are projected to line up like this:
Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin - Jason Spezza
Jamie Benn - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Mattias Janmark - Jason Dickinson - Valeri Nichushkin
Andrew Cogliano - Joel L’Esperance - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Jamie Oleksiak - Taylor Fedun
Injuries and Scratches: Alexander Radulov (illness)