Stars' Brenden Dillon 'long shot' for Game 4

DALLAS – Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon skated at optional practice Tuesday, but coach Lindy Ruff considers Dillon a “long shot” to play in Wednesday’s Game 4.

It was the first time Dillon participated in a competitive practice environment and the second time he’s skated this week as he recovers from a lower body injury suffered April 11 in a win against the St. Louis Blues.

“The next step is getting into a full team practice,” Dillon said. “That’s half the battle of getting in. You can ride the bike all you want and run on the treadmill. There is nothing like playing a hockey game, especially an NHL hockey game. This is a step forward and I am looking forward to the future.”

Dillon was asked if Wednesday’s morning skate is considered a full practice.

“I hope so,” Dillon said. “I am going to plead my case, for sure. It’s the doctors, too, that I have to prove it to. Like I said, I am feeling better and better, which is a good sign. I am taking care of what I can and controlling what I can control. Hopefully I can get in here and help my team.”

Dillon’s absence means a big body on the blue line isn’t out there and it’s put even more pressure on the top pair of Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski. They’ve played the lion’s share of the minutes for the Stars in this series.

“He’s moving along. He’s getting closer for us,” Ruff said about Dillon. “I think, if he keeps progressing, he has a chance here pretty soon to have an opportunity to get in for us. I think Game 4 is a long shot, unless he walks in my office and demands it, which I could hope could happen, but I’m not banking on it.”

Dillon was third on the team in average time on ice this season at 21:04 and chipped in 17 points with a plus-9. He was third in penalty minutes as well.