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 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 10 5 9 6 14
J. Spezza 10 4 7 2 11
C. Eakin 10 1 7 2 8
P. Sharp 10 4 2 1 6
R. Faksa 10 3 2 2 5
A. Goligoski 10 3 2 -5 5
P. Eaves 7 2 3 3 5
J. Klingberg 10 1 3 -3 4
A. Hemsky 10 1 3 -1 4
M. Janmark 9 1 3 -1 4
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 5 1 0 .906 2.58
A. Niemi 1 3 2 .872 3.33
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