Ty Dellandrea, Rick Bowness

Dallas Stars Coach Rick Bowness gives instructions to Ty Dellandrea during practice Thursday. The Stars play their delayed season opener Friday against the Nashville Predators. Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

DALLAS — The Dallas Stars are finally set to open their season, more than 10 months after playing their last home game, nearly four months after losing the deciding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final and a week after every other NHL team got underway.

The Stars’ return comes after 17 players tested positive for COVID-19, even though most were asymptomatic.

Their first four scheduled games, all on the road and including an early Stanley Cup final rematch with Tampa Bay, were postponed. The defending Western Conference champions now open at home Friday night against Nashville.

“Right now, listen, we’re all ready for a game,” Stars Coach Rick Bowness said after practice Thursday. “We’re ready to play an opponent, play against somebody other than our own teammates. We want that excitement, we want that adrenaline going … then we’ll manage it from there.”

Veteran forward Blake Comeau will miss the opener because of an undisclosed injury, and defenseman John Klingberg was not at practice Thursday for what Bowness called “medical reasons.” But the Stars will still have most of the group they anticipated opening the season with last week before the delay prompted by the positive tests – and the ensuring recovery time.

Dallas returns most of the core group from its first trip to the Stanley Cup final since 2000, although All-Star center Tyler Seguin (hip) and goaltender Ben Bishop (knee) are out until at least March while they rehab from offseason surgery.

CAPITALS: Washington will have to play its next four games without captain Alex Ovechkin, No. 1 center Evgeny Kuznetsov, top-four defenseman Dmitry Orlov and starting goaltender Ilya Samsonov because they violated the NHL’s coronavirus protocols by being in a hotel room together with none of them wearing a mask.

Coach Peter Laviolette said there was a positive test result, which led to contact tracing. The Capitals will be forced to use a patchwork lineup for their home opener Friday night against Buffalo.

THURSDAY’S GAMES

ISLANDERS 4, DEVILS 1: Jordan Eberle scored twice, Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists and Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves as New York won at home.

JETS 4, SENATORS 1: Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves, and Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry and Blake Wheeler scored to help Winnipeg win at Ottawa.

LIGHTNING 3, BLUE JACKETS 2: Brayden Point scored 1:56 into overtime to lift visiting Tampa Bay past Columbus.

 

 

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