Valeri Nichushkin will not play tonight when the Dallas Stars take on the New Jersey Devils to open a three-game road trip.
Nichushkin, who left Thursday’s game against Nashville with a lower-body injury, took part in this morning’s skate in New Jersey but is considered day to day.
“He is doing a lot better today,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “With back-to-back games we will see where he is tomorrow, and the smart thing is to keep him off.”
With Nichushkin out, Radek Faksa will come into the lineup. Faksa was called up earlier this week due to the injury to Ales Hemsky. Faksa skated on a line with Vernon Fiddler and Travis Moen this morning.
No other lineup changes for the Stars. Other than Faksa coming in, it will be the same lineup used in Thursday’s game against Nashville. That will include Antti Niemi getting the start in goal. Niemi is coming off a solid 33-save effort in Thursday’s 5-1 win over Nashville.
Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth will be healthy scratches. Nichushkin and Ales Hemsky (lower body) are out with injury.
The Stars come into tonight’s game on a 5-1-1 run, but they have not been so great on the road lately. They have dropped two straight away from home and are 1-2-2 in their past five road games.
“Our challenge is to play a better road game,” Ruff said. “Our last two road games haven’t been the best. We’ve been a good road team, and it’s clean up our road play and get back to the way we know we can play. It’s carry that game we played against Nashville at home onto the road.”
The Devils are expected to go with the same lineup they used in Wednesday’s 3-0 win in Ottawa. Cory Schneider will get the start in goal. He is 16-10-5 with a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. The Devils come into tonight’s game with wins in three of their past four games, and that’s pushed them into a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’ll face a good test in the league-leading Stars tonight.
“They are a very good team. They are very complete,” Devils coach John Hynes told reporters this morning. “You can look at their offensive game and the numbers speak for themselves. You have to have a lot of respect for them because they also play well without the puck. They are a complete team. You don’t win that many games if you are a one-trick pony. They are well-coached, well-structured, and they play a pretty tough game.”
Who: Dallas Stars at New Jersey Devils
Where: Prudential Center
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Sharp
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Colton Sceviour
Vernon Fiddler – Radek Faksa – Travis Moen
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jason Demers
Jyrki Jokipakka – Jordie Benn
Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth
Injured: Valeri Nichushkin (lower body), Ales Hemsky (lower body)
Mike Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Jiri Tlusty - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak
Stefan Matteau - Sergey Kalinin - Mike Sislo
Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
John Moore - Damon Severson
Jon Merrill - David Schlemko
Injured: Patrik Elias (knee), Ryan Clowe (concussion), Jacob Josefson (lower body)
Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Tyler Kennedy, Tuomo Ruutu
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.