Morning Skate: Fourth line provides a spark, Rynnas gets back-to-back start

Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal liked the energy in a 3-2 win against the Chicago Wolves on Friday. He’s looking for a similar effort when his team goes for the weekend sweep this evening.

That starts with the fourth line of Jesse Root, Eric Faille, and Branden Troock.

“I really like the work of our Eric Faille line and Root and Troock line,” Laxdal said. “They did some good things on the forecheck and kept us going. I really think they brought some energy we’ve been lacking in a few of our games.”

The line didn’t score, but they pestered Chicago on the forecheck and Troock almost scored in the third period when he was robbed by Wolves goalie Jordan Binnington.

The third line could have a similar impact tonight, even though it’ll feature a pair of defensemen playing forward.

Gemel Smith will center Scott Valentine and Matt Mangene. Mangene played forward Friday, while Valentine will enter the lineup for Matej Stransky.

“Let’s call it a coaching decision, and leave it at that,” Laxdal said of dressing eight defensemen. “If we need defensemen on the back end we’ll have lots of help.”

The rest of the lineup is expected to stay the same and Jussi Rynnas will get the back-to-back start after turning away 26 shots on Friday.

“Obviously he’s the guy we’re going to ride here a little bit if he’s hot,” Laxdal said. “If he’s not, we’ll get Jack in and see if we can get him up and running.”

Projected lineup:

McKenzie-Morin-Ranford
Hulak-Dowling-Rallo
Valentine-Smith-Mangene
Root-Faille-Troock

Fortunus-Oleksiak
Gaunce-Jokipakka
Meech-Honka

Rynnas

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