Eleven games and just under a month into the new season, the Carolina Hurricanes will experience something brand new: a game with live, paying customers in the stands.
The Dallas Stars are one of a handful of teams, although that number is growing slowly, who have brought fans into the arena. After playing their first ten games in arenas where no one outside of game personnel and the media were permitted to enter, the Hurricanes will be in a somewhat hostile environment for the first time in eleven months.
The good news for the Hurricanes is that Vincent Trocheck, who missed Monday’s loss in Columbus with a lower-body injury, is good to go for tonight’s game. Martin Necas remains on the shelf with an upper-body injury suffered last week, but Rod Brind’Amour said following the morning skate that the hope around the team is that Necas won’t be out for too much longer.
And speaking of players who may return in the foreseeable future, what’s this we saw this morning?
No, Petr Mrazek isn’t playing tonight; James Reimer will get the start after a few days’ rest.
Speaking of resting up, our best wishes go out to Abby Labar, who will be missing from tonight’s broadcast as she quarantines while awaiting COVID-19 test results. All of us wish Abby the best; hopefully she is able to dodge any symptoms and return to the game broadcasts as soon as possible!
Here is how the Hurricanes will line up:
Jordan Martinook - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trocheck - Brock McGinn
Ryan Dzingel - Morgan Geekie - Jesper Fast
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner - Haydn Fleury
Injuries and Scratches: Petr Mrazek (right thumb), Martin Necas (upper-body), Max McCormick (IR upper-body)
Taxi squad: Steven Lorentz, Joakim Ryan, Jake Bean, Antoine Bibeau
After being swept by the Hurricanes in a weekend series in Raleigh nearly two weeks ago, the Stars have continued to struggle. They have one win in their past six games, and earlier this week lost back-to-back overtime games to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stars’ early-season offensive hot streak has come to a screeching halt; other than a six-goal outburst against Columbus in their only win of the past six games, they’ve scored three or fewer goals in the other five, and only once in three of those games.
Anton Khudobin will be back in net tonight for the first time in a week, following a bizarre healthy scratch that was the result of him oversleeping and missing practice last weekend. Andrej Sekera returns to the Stars lineup after spending five games in the COVID protocol, and Alexander Radulov will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury. A nasty ice storm that contributed to a pileup of more than 100 vehicles on a Fort Worth interstate this morning has made for some less than stellar conditions in the Metroplex today, but there seems to be no issue with the game going forward tonight.
Here’s how the Stars will look:
Jamie Benn - Joe Pavelski - Joel Kiviranta
Jason Robertson - Roope Hintz - Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Nick Camino - Jason Dickinson - Ty Dellandrea
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera - Mark Pysyk
Injuries and Scratches: Alexander Radulov (lower body), Justin Dowling (healthy), Joel Hanley (healthy), Taylor Fedun (healthy), Joel Hanley (healthy), Tyler Seguin (non-roster hip), Ben Bishop (LTIR knee), Stephen Johns (LTIR post-concussion)
Taxi squad: Joel L’Esperance, Rhett Gardiner, Tanner Kero, Landon Bow
Referees: Dan O’Rourke #9, Gord Dwyer #19
Linesmen: Andrew Smith #51, Vaughan Rody #73