The Stars lost Patrick Sharp and Jordie Benn earlier on a day-to-day basis, and news isn’t getting any better on the injury front for Dallas. Less than five minutes into Friday’s game, Stars defenseman John Klingberg was forced out of the contest with a lower-body injury.
It appeared that Klingberg’s injury came during a break up ice by the Devils. New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri was carrying the puck up the right wing and passed the puck into the middle of the ice, but the puck deflected back towards Klingberg, who fell to the ice after he was bumped by Palmieri. Klingberg went down to one knee, got up slowly and headed to the bench:
Klingberg didn’t immediately leave the game, but remained on the Stars’ bench for a few minutes. After Dallas forced an offensive zone faceoff, Klingberg got back onto the ice for a brief shift. The Stars won the faceoff, the puck was passed in to Klingberg by Kris Russell, but the 23-year-old blueliner stumbled when making a return pass to Russell before heading off the ice only seconds into his second shift of the game:
It was after his second shift that Klingberg returned to the Stars’ dressing room, and before the first period was through the Stars announced that he would not return to the contest.
Being without Klingberg for any extended period of time would be a serious blow to the Stars, especially considering the work they did at the trade deadline to shore up their defense. Dallas moved blueliner Jyrki Jokipakka, a conditional second-round pick and prospect Brett Pollock to Calgary in order to land Russell, who was paired with Klingberg. If Klingberg is out, the Stars could choose to turn to one of their young defensemen in the AHL, such as Julius Honka or Stephen Johns.
As of Friday, Klingberg is the third-highest scoring defenseman in the league with 10 goals and 53 points in 65 games. After averaging nearly 22 minutes per game in his rookie campaign, Klingberg has logged more than 23 minutes per game this season.