Valeri Nichushkin is out for tonight’s game in Columbus. Nichushkin, who has been struggling with a groin/hip issue, did not travel with the team and is back in Frisco getting the injury evaluated.
“Val is seeing a doctor today and whatever the doctor recommends is what we will do,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He has seen him a couple times now. We’ll find out what it is. It’s not one of those easy ones, but it’s been hampering him and we are trying to get to the bottom of it.”
Ruff said that if all goes well with the doctors, Nichushkin could join the team tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
With Nichushkin not playing tonight, it appears Colton Sceviour will play right wing on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Cody Eakin, who skated on the top line in Monday’s practice, is back in his usual spot on the third line with Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt. Patrick Eaves is back on the second line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. Vernon Fiddler is centering the fourth line with Shawn Horcoff and Erik Cole on his wings.
Kevin Connauton appears to be back in on defense and Jamie Oleksiak is the likely scratch on blue line. Kari Lehtonen is expected to get the start in goal tonight.
The Stars are coming off a 4-1 loss in Nashville in which they generated just 18 shots on goal. Ruff said he is looking for his team to create more opportunities around the net.
“We’ve got to execute better in some places,” Ruff said. “We’ve stayed on the perimeter a little bit too much. I’d like to see us get inside and get a few more net scrums, second and third opportunities. We have not put ourselves in a situation to create those.”
With Valeri Nichushkin hurting, the Stars recalled LW Curtis McKenzie from the Texas Stars for the second time in three days. McKenzie is not expected to play Tuesday night, but he could get in a game if Nichushkin remains out of action.
“The thoughts of getting him in a game depend on Val. If he clears everything with doctors today he may be back tomorrow,” Ruff said. “I’d like to see [McKenzie] play. This group playing tonight is going to get one more kick at it. We know what he did in camp. He had an excellent camp, so it would be interesting to see him play.”
Who: Dallas Stars at Columbus Blue Jackets
Where: Nationwide Arena
When: 6:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Colton Sceviour
Patrick Eaves – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Erik Cole
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Kevin Connauton – Patrik Nemeth
Scratched: D Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip), D Sergei Gonchar (ankle)
Injured Non-Roster: C Rich Peverley (heart)
Blue Jackets projected lineup
Nick Foligno – Ryan Johansen – Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell – Artem Anisimov – Alexander Wennberg
Matt Calvert – Mark Letestu – Marko Dano
Jack Skille – Michael Chaput – Jared Boll
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Tim Erixon – James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin – Dalton Prout
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.