Valeri Nichushkin Back in Lineup as Stars Take on Sharks

Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 12:51 PM CT / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Valeri Nichushkin Back in Lineup as Stars Take on Sharks
Valeri Nichushkin will be back in the lineup tonight as the Dallas Stars take on the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.

Valeri Nichushkin will be back in the lineup tonight as the Dallas Stars take on the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.

Nichushkin, who was a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s game at Colorado, skated on a line with Shawn Horcoff and Erik Cole during Thursday morning’s skate at the AAC. Nichushkin, who has been playing right wing this season, will line up at left wing for tonight’s game.

“It’s just a look we are going to try,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He’s played four games at right wing and he’s got one shot on net. We’re going to give him a look over there, but that doesn’t mean he is going to stay there. I just think it is a little crowded on the right side. I’ve seen Erik play left side and I don’t like him over there. He’s a lot more effective player on the right. Then you’ve got (Alex) Chiasson and (Rich) Peverley ahead of him. The move to try to get him a little more ice time would be to get him in that third line role at left wing.”

The 18-year-old Nichushkin, the Stars first round pick (10th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, has struggled at times in his first four regular season games. Ruff said when a talented young player like Nichushkin isn’t producing it can snowball a little.

“I think part of any young player is dealing with the frustration of not scoring,” Ruff said. “When they don’t see their offense they start guessing in the game, they start going to places, they start extending their shifts. He’s got good talent. We know he’s going to be a good player and any young player goes through tough stretches that they are going to have to work their way through.”

Ruff gave Nichushkin Tuesday night off so he could watch a game and perhaps pick up a few things that way. Ruff has talked with Nichushkin as well.

“I spent some time with him yesterday, and that's a process,” Ruff said. “I know he's frustrated. Like any young player, he wants to score and he wants points, and I think all of that will come if the right things happen.”

Lehtonen update

Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is out for tonight’s game against San Jose. He remains on injured reserve with a lower body injury. Stars coach Lindy Ruff didn’t have much new information on Lehtonen other to say that the Stars netminder is making progress.

“Kari is progressing. He is getting better every day,” Ruff said. “I’d like to give you more. He’s getting better every day and I expect him back in the near future.”

Thursday’s game

Who: San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM

Stars projected lineup

Here’s the Stars projected lineup for tonight. Dan Ellis will get the start in goal. The defense pairings are a question mark for tonight.

“We’re going to keep that a little cloudy for you,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said when asked about the pairs.

Jamie BennTyler SeguinRich Peverley
Ray Whitney
Cody EakinAlex Chiasson
Valeri Nichushkin
- Shawn HorcoffErik Cole
Antoine Roussel
Vernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt

Alex GoligoskiSergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon
Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn

Dan Ellis (starter)
Jack Campbell

Sharks projected lineup

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Tyler Kennedy – Logan Couture – Patrick Marleau
Matthew Nieto – Joe Pavelski – Tommy Wingels
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – Bracken Kearns

Matt Irwin – Brad Stuart
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi (starter)
Alex Stalock




1 x - ANA 78 49 22 7 227 216 105
2 x - NSH 77 47 22 8 220 188 102
3 STL 76 46 23 7 229 190 99
4 CHI 76 46 24 6 217 176 98
5 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
6 VAN 76 44 27 5 219 204 93
7 CGY 77 42 28 7 229 204 91
8 WPG 76 39 25 12 215 201 90
9 LAK 76 37 25 14 201 192 88
10 DAL 77 37 30 10 239 248 84
11 SJS 76 37 30 9 212 215 83
12 COL 76 35 29 12 206 213 82
13 EDM 76 23 40 13 185 255 59
14 ARI 77 23 46 8 161 256 54


J. Benn 77 28 46 -6 74
T. Seguin 67 35 35 -4 70
J. Spezza 77 17 42 -3 59
J. Klingberg 60 11 27 3 38
C. Eakin 73 17 19 -5 36
T. Daley 63 16 20 -10 36
A. Goligoski 77 4 31 -2 35
A. Hemsky 71 11 21 -5 32
S. Horcoff 73 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 75 12 15 -5 27
K. Lehtonen 34 16 10 .906 2.88
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.25
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