The Dallas Stars are facing elimination and they will be doing so shorthanded by the looks of things.
The Stars are going to be facing an uphill battle on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, and the 3 - 1 deficit that they are currently starring at in this series is only one part of the problem. On Saturday Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness revealed that the Stars had ruled a whopping 5 players as "unfit to play" with some of the names on this list having been here for quite some time, and some new names joining the list as well. Those players are goaltender Ben Bishop, and skaters Blake Comeau, Stephen Johns, Radek Fask and Roope Hintz.
That would be a tough blow at the best of times but with your team needing to win 3 consecutive games in order to have a shot at the Stanley Cup, it's a disaster for the Dallas Stars. Now this doesn't mean that you should be counting out the Stars, after all there will be players stepping into the lineup to replace the injured Stars, but there's no question that it puts them at a serious disadvantage.
Stepping into the lineup this evening will be 29 year old center Justin Dowling, an undrafted signing by the Stars that has made 49 appearances with the team over the course of the last 4 seasons. Over that stretch he has recorded 3 goals and 6 assists for a combined total of 9 points, and no doubt he enters the biggest game of his hockey career this evening.
If there is perhaps one silver lining here for the Dallas Stars it is the fact that the Lightning are also dealing with injuries of their own, most notably the one that has kept captain Steven Stamkos out of the line up thus far. Stamkos has been unfit to play for this entire series in spite of the fact that he has returned to practice and has been rumored to make his return at some point during the Cup final.
Obviously given that they have already picked up 3 wins in this series, the Lightning have thus far been able to manage without him.