DALLAS — Ales Hemsky has five points in 10 games since returning from injury and is starting to look like, well, Ales Hemsky again.
Hemsky scored a pair of goals in the Stars 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday and was easily the Stars best player in a game where they deserved a slightly better outcome.
“I thought he put together a nice game for us,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after the game. “He’s skating well. Every game for me he seems to be getting better. And it’s a lot of time off, we’ve seen it with other players, it’s hard to come back and get in a groove right away.”
Hemsky and the Stars now return to Dallas to complete a back-to-back when they host the San Jose Sharks tonight at American Airlines Center.
Dallas hasn’t been very good in the second game of back-to-backs, going 2-5-1 this season, while the Sharks have been resting in Dallas for the past two days.
“We’ve lost to teams coming off back-to-backs before, so I don’t think it’s an excuse,” Sharks coach Pete Deboer said on Friday morning. “It’s something they won’t think about, so we can’t think about it either.”
The Sharks are trying to end a four-game losing streak and have struggled mightily offensively during that time. San Jose is getting Jannik Hansen back in the lineup, so that could be a boost.
Either way, we’ll have more answers tonight after warmups. The Sharks had an optional morning skate, while the Stars cancelled their morning skate.
Lindy Ruff is meeting with the media at 5:30 and we may get some answers at that point. But it’s highly likely that he won’t tell us which defenseman is being scratched or which goalie will get the start.
My guess is Stephen Johns would be back in after a loss, but that’s pure speculation.
Sharks projected lineup
Jannik Hansen — Joe Thornton — Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau — Logan Couture — Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi — Tomas Hertl — Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley — Chris Tierney — Marcus Sorensen
Paul Martin — Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon — David Schlemko
Scratched: Timo Meier, Daniel O’Regan, Dylan DeMelo
Injured: Melker Karlsson (lower body)
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn — Cody Eakin — Ales Hemsky
Remi Elie — Tyler Seguin — Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore — Radek Faksa — Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie — Adam Cracknell — Jiri Hudler
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis — Greg Pateryn
Jamie Oleksiak OR Patrik Nemeth — Stephen Johns
Kari Lehtonen OR Antti Niemi
Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak OR Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Jason Spezza (back spasms)