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Morning Skate: Denis Gurianov Returns, Stars Continue Divisional Matchups vs Chicago

The Dallas Stars take on the Chicago Blackhakws at home on Wednesday night in the second of four straight against the Central Division.



The Dallas Stars continue their Central Division swing, as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks at home on Wednesday night. 

The matchup with the Hawks will be the second straight divisional game for Dallas. They fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. The Stars will play two more games in a row within their division after tonight. 

Forward Denis Gurianov is expected to be ready and will play in his first game since an upper-body injury in Winnipeg on Nov. 8. 

Gurianov struggled to begin the season but was beginning to play some really good hockey on a line with Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment before the injury. Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer talked about what he hopes to see from him in his return and within his role on the second power-play unit. 

“I don’t know if it’s harder,” DeBoer said when asked about the challenge of Gurianov finding his game after the injury. “You’re an NHL player. You’re healthy, you should be fresher than anyone in that room. Come in and do it.” 

“He obviously can shoot the puck. So we know that,” DeBoer said about Gurianov on the power play. “You’ve got to use that tool when it presents itself, that’s got to be in the forefront of his mind. But at the same time, you have responsibilities to the other four guys on the unit to win battles, make plays, enter with possession. There’s a million things before you ever get the shot off that contribute to actually shooting it in the net.” 

Matej Blumel will not be in the lineup, as the winger was sent back down to the Texas Stars on Tuesday. Dallas recalled forward Fredrik Karlstrom in his place. Blumel had one goal in six games with Dallas while Karlstrom recorded one assist in three NHL games last spring. 

“I thought Blumel did a great job,” DeBoer said. “I think a lot of times, those call-up guys, they give you a shot of energy. It’s usually for a handful of games and then they kind of plateau. Usually, it’s multiple call-ups until you finally get some traction and become a full-time NHL player. So we kind of expected that. When you see that, you go to the next guy.” 

Starting goaltender: Jake Oettinger will start his third straight game after coming in for an injured Scott Wedgewood in Florida. Oettinger is 1-0-1 in those starts with a .937 save percentage.

Stars Projected Lines

  • Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Joe Pavelski
  • Mason Marchment – Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin
  • Ty Dellandrea – Wyatt Johnston – Denis Gurianov
  • Joel Kiviranta – Radek Faksa – Luke Glendening
  • Miro Heiskanen – Colin Miller
  • Ryan Suter – Nils Lundkvist
  • Esa Lindell – Jani Hakanpaa
  • Jake Oettinger
  • Scott Wedgewood

Blackhawks Scouting Report 

The Blackhawks are smack in the middle of a full rebuild. And for much of the year, they have looked like it. 

They roll into Dallas losing four straight and eight of their last 10. They sit just one point above Arizona at the bottom of the Central Division. But the Hawks should get a boost tonight, as star defenseman and Texas native Seth Jones makes his return from injury after missing nearly a month. 

“That first line is dynamic dynamic,” DeBoer said. “If you give them time and space, they can turn it quickly on you. I think Seth Jones is back in the lineup, which totally changes their team, from where it’s probably been with him out of the lineup. Dangerous team, there’s no easy nights.”

The long-time legends have not been spectacular, but they do still lead the team, as Patrick Kane leads all Hawks with 14 points and Jonathan Toews with eight goals. 

It will also be the first healthy return to Dallas for former Stars forward Jason Dickinson. Dickinson played 221 games across six seasons with the Stars and picked up three points in his first matchup against his former club. 

He Said It 

“I was talking to Joe Pavelski, reminiscing a little bit about our first year in San Jose. American Thanksgiving, I don’t believe we were in a playoff spot. I remember our owner coming down and basically insinuating that the season was over and we went on to the Stanley Cup Final. What it reminded me of is that this is a process coming in new with new players and new systems, and it takes some time to get moving,” DeBoer said. “I think our group has grasped it earlier, which I am happy about and we have won games while we have gone through that process, which is important.”

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