CEDAR PARK — The Texas Stars will be fielding a hybrid lineup tonight in the regular season finale against the San Antonio Rampage.
On one hand, Texas will try to emulate it’s Game 1 playoff roster. While Stars coach Derek Laxdal will also be cautious and try avoid injuries before the postseason starts April 24 at Cedar Park Center.
“We rested a few guys last night, so tonight we want to try and play our lineup as full as possible,” Laxdal said. “We’ve got one player that will be out, he’s got the flu … we’ve also got a couple guys banged up. But besides that we’ll try and play as close as possible to our playoff lineup tonight.”
That means Jason Dickinson, Dallas’ first-round pick in 2013, will play his second straight game with Texas after he had an assist last night. Dickinson joined the Stars this week after finishing his junior career with the Guelph Storm and Laxdal said the 19-year-old will be part of the playoff roster.
“He will, there’s no question about it,” Laxdal said. “He’s a special player. He’s a first-round pick. He plays both sides of the puck, he’s got a good head on his shoulders … obviously he’s not going to get thrown into the top-three lines. But he’s going to get a chance in the bottom-six and he’s going to push other players.”
Dickinson said he’s excited about the opportunity.
“This experience is going to help me get a good kick start at the beginning of the (next) season,” Dickinson. “I don’t have to ease my way into things and I’ll have a good feel for it.”
Cole Ully will also be in the lineup tonight, a result of the unnamed player’s flu symptoms, while defenseman Mattias Backman will make his Texas debut. Derek Meech will be out with his wife expecting a child “very soon.”
“It’ll be nice to play again,” Backman said. “It’s been a while since I played. So it’s going to be fun.”
Backman hasn’t played since finishing his season with Linkopings HC in the SHL. He was acquired in a trade-deadline deal for Erik Cole from the Detroit Red Wings.
His sticks also haven’t arrived from Europe yet. On Saturday morning he took the optional skate using injured center Radek Faksa’s sticks.
“They’re still at some airport in Europe,” Backman said. “I’m going to play with Faksa’s sticks today. It’s going to be awesome.”
Jack Campbell will get the start in goal, but that’s not an indicator he’ll be the Game 1 playoff starter. Laxdal said both goalies “have earned a chance” to start Game 1 and that decision will be made next week.