Feb 29, 2012, 11:40 AM EST
The Dallas Stars’ playoff chances will get a big boost Wednesday night when LW Jamie Benn returns to the lineup for the first time in six games. Benn, out since suffering a left thigh laceration against Calgary on Feb. 16, skated on a line with Steve Ott and Adam Burish at Tuesday’s practice and declared himself fit to face the Penguins.
“It went well. I felt good out there. It was good to get back out there with the guys, skate around, have some fun and do some high-paced drills,” Benn said. “I feel ready to go.”
Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan doesn’t expect Benn to play his usual 20 minutes per night right away, but believes Dallas will receive a huge boost simply by having the All-Star back in the fold.
“You need your guys back,” Gulutzan said. “Benny has been a huge player for us all season and we’ve managed without him and now he has to come back in and it’s going to give us a big boost for sure.
“Whenever you get a chance to get arguably your best player back, you welcome it with open arms.”
Benn’s return coincides with the Stars in the midst of an unlikely playoff push. They looked dead halfway through February — Dallas went 4-5-3 to start the month — then rallied to win four straight without the services of their best player. They were tough wins, too, as the Stars went into Montreal (3-0) and Chicago (3-1) before returning home to defeat Minnesota (4-1) and Western Conference-leading Vancouver (3-2, in overtime).
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 5
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 75
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 3
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 13
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 88
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 83
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 68
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty 172
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (172)
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand (88)
- Bruins’ Kelly out with broken ankle after Dupuis slash (85)
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) (83)