Dallas Stars @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Dec. 19: 6:00 PM CT
How to Watch: Bally Sports Southwest
The Dallas Stars travel to Columbus to close out their five-game road trip against the Blue Jackets on Monday night.
Dallas has gone 2-1-1 so far on this Eastern Conference swing and is coming off an overtime loss in Carolina on Saturday. The Stars overcame two separate two-goal deficits to force overtime against the Canes before falling on a Martin Necas game-winner.
The big news from the Stars on Monday is the massive changes to their lineup ahead of this matchup.
Head Coach Pete DeBoer has been shuffling things around ever since a poor second period in Washington and those changes have continued into tonight.
Riley Tufte is expected to make his season debut after being called up at the beginning of the trip.
Tufte recorded one goal in 10 NHL games last season and has been on a dominant streak in the AHL, tallying five goals and 11 points in his last 9 games. Tufte skated on a fourth line with Radek Faksa and Luke Glendening this morning in Columbus.
"It's definitely been a process," Tufte said. "I have been playing well down in the minors. Most of my success has come from 5-on-5, so just trying to focus on that tonight. Be a force on the ice at all times and make myself noticeable. Last year I felt ready but this year, I feel like I'm really ready."
Outside of the top line, each forward trio will look very different.
Ty Dellandrea will slide into the center spot on the second line between Joel Kiviranta and Tyler Seguin. This will be the first time that Seguin and Mason Marchment have not skated on the same line all season. Marchment, instead, has been moved down to the right-wing next to Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston.
Denis Gurianov, who was playing some of his best hockey on the homestand, is expected to be a healthy scratch after going pointless in the last four games.
The Stars are searching for some more consistent offense across all four lines, as they have received most of their contributions from the top trio as of late.
"We have had a tough road trip," Roope Hintz said. "But still one game left, and if we get a win tonight, it's going to be a good road trip. We've got to focus on our game tonight and go from there."
Starting goaltender: Jake Oettinger is expected to start for the third time on this trip. Oettinger has been excellent, going 1-1-0 with a .950 save percentage. The now 24-year-old is coming off a 45-save performance against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Stars Projected Lines
Blue Jackets Scouting Report
Columbus has had a poor season, going 10-18-2 and sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings heading into play tonight. The Jackets are 3-6-1 in their last 10.
To no surprise, newcomer Johnny Gaudreau leads the team with 10 goals and 33 points. Captain Boone Jenner is next on the list with 22 points. Jenner was added to the Injured Reserve list on Monday and is expected to miss four weeks with a broken thumb.