DALLAS — It’s a fool’s errand writing about a particular Dallas Stars line that isn’t centered by Radek Faksa.
With a notorious line juggler like Ken Hitchcock, the minute you write about a particular line having certain chemistry or consistency, it’s likely the same minute the coach has made a decision to alter the line — even the top group centered by Tyler Seguin.
With the exception of the Antoine Roussel, Radek Faksa, and Tyler Pitlick line, every player could be potentially juggled at some point tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But, if things work out well enough, there could be an ideal combination on Jason Spezza’s line, flanked by Devin Shore and Mattias Janmark.
Remi Elie started on that line in a 6-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, but was flipped with Shore late in the first period. It worked well as Shore had one of his best games of the season, fitting in well with the natural chemistry that Janmark and Spezza have going back to the 2015-16 season.
It’s brought a slight adjustment for each of the wingers. Shore has played on the left before, but has been used more often as a left-handed right wing. Janmark, who is left-handed, hasn’t really ever played on the right and is figuring out if that spot works well for him.
“It’s different and it’s good to learn and see what it brings,” Janmark said. “It’s gonna take a couple more games to find out. You still end up on the left wing at times, and me and Devin can read off each other well.”
Shore said it’s not a necessity, but he likes being back on the natural side of his handedness.
“When you’re coming across and pushing the pace, you get a pass on your forehand and than you end up on the right wing on the rush, I like that,” Shore said. “On exits it helps to, and battling along the wall.”
And neither Shore or Janmark are stapled to a particular wing. They each have a bit of freedom to move and switch in the game, and that actually works best with Spezza — who prefers to be back at his natural position in center ice.
“The strength of our line is when we’re moving and when we’re cycling and kind of creating long shifts,” Spezza said. “Really a lot of switches and a lot of criss-crosses, making it difficult for their team to defend. Position I think for those guys, as much as it’s been important, they also switch so much during a shift and in game it makes it harder to defend.”
It worked against Florida, the line created chances somewhat consistently at five-on-five in a weird, penalty-filled games, and each player had at least one point.
The results have to continue against Toronto on Thursday, otherwise that line — and this story — could be quickly juggled apart.
Maple Leafs projected lineup
Zach Hyman — Auston Matthews — William Nylander
Patrick Marleau — Nazem Kadri — Mitchell Marner
James van Riemsdyk — Tyler Bozak — Connor Brown
Leo Komarov — Dominic Moore — Kasperi Kapanen
Jake Gardiner — Ron Hainsey
Travis Dermott — Connor Carrick
Andreas Borgman — Roman Polak
Scratched: Josh Leivo, Matt Martin, Rinat Valiev
Injured: Morgan Rielly (arm), Nikita Zaitsev (lower body), Nikita Soshnikov (lower body)
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn — Tyler Seguin — Alexander Radulov
Devin Shore — Jason Spezza — Mattias Janmark
Antoine Roussel — Radek Faksa — Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie — Jason Dickinson — Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis — Greg Pateryn
Dillon Heatherington — Stephen Johns
Scratched: Julius Honka, Gemel Smith
Injured: Marc Methot (knee), Martin Hanzal (lower-body)