Morning Skate Update

Thursday, 10.3.2013 / 12:31 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Morning Skate Update

It will be Kari Lehtonen vs. Tim Thomas in goal tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the Florida Panthers at American Airlines Center in the season opener for both teams.

“Ready to rock and roll,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “The points count now and everything is for real. It’s been a good camp, but I think everybody has been excited for this day to come.”

The Stars saw the Panthers twice in the preseason, winning both games. But this time the game will count and Florida has made a lot of changes to its roster since those exhibition games, adding Thomas, defensemen Ryan Whitney and Tom Gilbert and forward Brad Boyes.

The Panthers also have 2013 Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

“They are a team that maybe flies under the radar themselves,” Dillon said. “That Barkov is a high pick this year. They’ve got (Dmitry) Kulikov, (Brian) Campbell on the backend. Tim Thomas is kind of that wild card. He won a Stanley Cup a couple years ago. It’s going to be interesting. They are a lot like us with a lot of changes. It will be a good game tonight for sure.”

Nichushkin to make NHL debut

Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars’ first round pick (10th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut tonight. He is expected to play right wing on a line with center Vernon Fiddler and left wing Shawn Horcoff.

“He’s one of a lot of young guys. You want to see how the young guys approach the game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Obviously, it is his first pro game and he’ll probably have some nerves early on. Maybe there will be a tendency to try a little too much, but it’s his first game and we want to get him through it and we want him to enjoy it.”

Thursday’s game

Who: Florida Panthers at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/104.1 FM

Projected Stars lineup

Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Erik Cole
Ray Whitney
-Cody Eakin-Alex Chiasson
Shawn Horcoff
-Vernon Fiddler-Valeri Nichushkin
Antoine Roussel
-Chris Mueller-Ryan Garbutt

Alex Goligoski-Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon
-Stephane Robidas
Jordie Benn
-Trevor Daley

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Dan Ellis

Projected Panthers lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Brad Boyes
Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Kris Versteeg
Jesse Winchester - Shawn Matthias - Tomas Kopecky
Scottie Upshall - Scott Gomez - Drew Shore

Brian Campbell – Ryan Whitney
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Tom Gilbert - Erik Gudbranson

Tim Thomas (starter)
Jacob Markstrom

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 53 21 27 5 131 156 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82
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