Saad Yousuf of The Athletic reports that Dallas Stars defenseman Jani Hakanpaa will be back in the team’s lineup for Game 3. Hakanpaa is yet to play in the Western Conference Final, and has been out of the Stars lineup since Game 6 of the team’s second round series victory over the Seattle Kraken. He has missed the past three games, and also missed Game 4 of the Kraken series.
Injury details are often kept quiet in the NHL postseason and Hakanpaa’s ailment is no exception. It was labelled as a lower-body injury but there was never a timeline given on his return nor was there any more details mentioned about how the injury actually occurred or what exactly is bothering him.
The 31-year-old defenseman will step back into the Stars lineup and provide a physical presence in his defensive role. The 6-foot-6 defender does not put up a ton of points, but regularly was playing over 20 minutes per game before injury knocked him out of the lineup. He had one goal and two points in 11 playoff games so far this spring and also scored six goals and 16 points while playing all 82 regular season games for the Stars.
The Stars have lost the first two games of the series, both in overtime, and will look to avoid a nearly insurmountable 3-0 series deficit with a win on home ice tonight.