The Stars practiced in Tampa today before the short flight to Fort Lauderdale for Thursday's game against the Panthers.
Jamie Benn, who has missed three games with concussion-like symptoms, is back in the lineup and is playing center. Stars lines will probably look like this:
James Neal-Brad Richards-Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow-Mike Ribeiro-Adam Burish
Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Brandon Segal
Krys Barch/Brian Sutherby-Tom Wandell-Toby Petersen
Nicklas Grossman-Stephane Robidas
Mark Fistric-Trevor Daley
Karlis Skrastins-Matt Niskanen
Kari Lehtonen is expected to go in net for the sixth straight game.
Benn said he tried to use some of his time off to see the game on the ice from the center spot. He watched a couple of games from the press box and said he got a different perspective.
``It is different, and it allows you to see a few things,'' said Benn, who played all 82 games last season. ``You ask questions and you're always trying to learn, so you try to make the best of a situation like this.''
The Stars worked a lot on special teams, but coach Marc Crawford said while that so much focus has been on the penalty kill (which allowed four goals in a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay), there also is work to be done on the power play (which is 23rd in the NHL at 10.0 percent).
``You look at that game, and we had as much trouble with the power play as we did the penalty kill, so we really needed to work on both,'' said Crawford. ``It's about getting shots through on the power play and keeping those lanes blocked on the penalty kill. Tampa did a good job in both regards and we didn't.''
Crawford said Matt Niskanen could be an important part of the attempt to get shots through. Because so many teams pay so much attention to Brad Richards at the left point, that leaves shooting lanes open for Niskanen. Back in the '90s, Darryl Sydor would take advantage by using a quick release on his shot, because he knew he had an extra half second created by Sergei Zubov.''
``He knows he has to get his shots off more quickly and that's something we're working on,'' Crawford said of Niskanen. ``But there is also a second layer of shot blockers, so he has to have get it away quickly and still have something on it.''