Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a fracture in his foot. Whitney, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday morning, has been playing through the foot issue since early in the season, and had a hard time making it through last night’s game.
“A lot of guys wouldn’t have finished that game,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “But he finished it, went right into the overtime and the shootout, and played heavy minutes. He’s not a big guy, but lots of guys wouldn’t have finished that game.”
With a hole in the Stars set of top six forwards, Brenden Morrow will move up the lineup and play on the top line tonight.
“He’s worked his tail off the last two weeks,” Gulutzan said. “He’s played hard, he’s been a leader in there for us. It’s not something he’s not used to, and he can play against the top players.
“With any of our lines, we are moving them around. We’ve got injuries. Right now, you’ve got to look for quick chemistry.”
The Stars have called up forward Reilly Smith from the Texas Stars. He’ll likely start on the fourth line, but he could be moved up the lineup tonight as Gulutzan looks for that quick chemistry.
Kari Lehtonen is feeling under the weather, so Richard Bachman will get the start in goal tonight. It will be Bachman’s first start of the season. Bachman, who started the season in the AHL, has one NHL appearance this season, playing the final 4:30 in Tuesday’s loss to Detroit. He stopped both shots he faced.
“We didn’t make our decision until this morning, and Kari is a little bit under the weather,” Gulutzan said. “You look at the way February unfolds after tonight, and I see Kari Lehtonen playing almost every game. He claimed himself today – and I could hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes – that he is not feeling well. It’s that time of year and went to make sure he is ready because February is going to be a Kari Lehtonen month.”
Aaron Rome is expected to slide in on defense tonight. Jordie Benn and Philip Larsen will sit on defense. Tom Wandell will be the scratch at forward.
Whitney (foot), Derek Roy (groin) and Christopher (Nilstorp) are all on injured reserve.
Mike Smith will start again in goal for Phoenix.