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Lindback Expected in Goal, Eakin and Nichushkin Out vs. Sharks

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

It appears that goaltender Anders Lindback will make his third start of the season when the Dallas Stars take on the San Jose Sharks tonight at American Airlines Center.

Lindback was the first goaltender off the ice for the Stars, which is a key clue into who is in goal for the game. Stars coach Lindy Ruff, who doesn’t reveal his starting goaltender, stayed the course Saturday morning.

“I don’t know if he’s starting,” Ruff said when asked what he would like to see from Lindback in his third start.

Lindback has had a rough start to the season. He is 0-2-0 with a 4.50 goals against average and .850 save percentage this season.

There will be some other lineup changes and adjustments tonight for the Stars, who are trying to snap a six-game winless streak (0-4-2).

Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin) and Cody Eakin (hip/groin) won’t play tonight for Dallas. The Stars recalled Curtis McKenzie from Texas of the AHL to give them 12 healthy forwards. This is McKenzie’s second call up to the NHL. He registered no points in two games last month.

“Curtis is good on the walls, physical, goes to the net hard,” Ruff said. “He’s got a good two-way game.”

McKenzie, last season’s AHL Rookie of the Year, has played five games with Texas this season, registering four points (two goals, two assists).

“I am definitely very excited to be back here,” McKenzie said. “I think the first time I was here was a bit of an eye-opening time, kind of feeling out the process here. Now, I am a lot more prepared to come back and step in.”

There were no line rushes at this morning’s skate, so it’s not known if Ruff will juggle his forward lines.

Ruff did talk about switching his defense pairs on Friday and there was some of that in the first drill on Saturday. As expected, he split up the top pair of Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley. Goligoski skated on the right side with Brenden Dillon and Daley was on the right side with Jordie Benn. Kevin Connauton and Sergei Gonchar were the third pair. Jamie Oleksiak appears to be the scratch on defense.

Alex Stalock will get the nod in goal for the Sharks. Stalock is 1-2-1 with a 2.22 goals against average and .924 save percentage.

Nichushkin, Eakin updates

Neither Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin) nor Cody Eakin (upper body) skated Saturday morning. Eakin missed Thursday’s game and did not practice Friday. Nichushkin left Friday’s practice early after the hip/groin issue that kept him out earlier in the season flared up again.

“Cody hasn’t been able to skate and Val will be off for a couple days,” Ruff said. “[Nichushkin] was re-evaluated again and we’ll see where that ends up after two or three days.”

Saturday’s game

Who: San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves
Curtis McKenzieJason SpezzaAles Hemsky
Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt
Erik ColeShawn HorcoffColton Sceviour

Brenden DillonTrevor Daley
Jordie BennAlex Goligoski
Kevin ConnautonSergei Gonchar

Anders Lindback
Kari Lehtonen

Scratched: D Jamie Oleksiak

Injured: F Cody Eakin (upper body), F Valeri Nichushkin (hip/groin), D Patrik Nemeth (arm)

Sharks projected lineup

Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Matt Nieto
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Tomas Hertl – James Sheppard – Tyler Kennedy
Andrew Desjardins – Adam Burish – Tye McGinn

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller – Brent Burns
Matt Irwin – Jason Demers

Alex Stalock
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Barclay Goodrow, Scott Hannan, John Scott

Injured: Mike Brown (hand), Raffi Torres (knee)

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 reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge

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