Thursday’s game between the Stars and Panthers featured two highly touted 2013 draft picks who were making their NHL debuts.
Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin, the tenth overall pick, logged 19:50 of ice time, had no points, one shot on goal and two hits. He started the game on a line with Vernon Fiddler and Shawn Horcoff, but also saw some time with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
“I thought for a first game he did a lot of good things,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He was in on some good opportunities. I thought he skated well. He played quite a bit. I thought for the first NHL game, getting a little bit of the jitters out, I thought he played well.”
Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, the second overall pick, played 15:34, scored in the third period to tie the game at 2-2. He had four shots on goal and won three of 13 faceoffs.
“[Barkov] had a big game,” said Florida forward Kris Versteeg. “He ended up playing well. He played great for us tonight.”
Peverley to be evaluated Friday
Stars forward Rich Peverley, who missed Thursday’s season opener because he is still undergoing treatment for an irregular heartbeat, will be evaluated on Friday to determine if he will be available for Saturday’s game against Washington.
*The Stars failed to registered a point for the first time in their last 15 home openers (11-1-3).
*The Stars had 5:08 of power play time in the game and had no power play shots on goal.
*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 38 of 71 faceoffs (54 percent).
*Vernon Fiddler won 13 of 20 (65 percent) for the Stars.
*Marcel Goc won 16 of 20 (80 percent) for Florida.
*The Panthers blocked 24 shots in the game. Florida defenseman Mike Weaver led the way with six blocks.
*Alex Goligoski and Fiddler led the Stars with four shots each.
*Goligoski led the Stars with 22:01 of ice time.
*The Stars put Victory Green t-shirts on every seat in the American Airlines Center.
*The second period of Thursday’s game ended with 25.5 seconds left in order to repair a broken pane of glass. The two teams played the final 25.5 seconds after the second intermission to finish the second period and then immediately started the third period.
*Mike Modano dropped the ceremonial first puck.
*Thursday’s announced attendance was 16,110.
“I expect to see a lot more battle.”
-Stars coach Lindy Ruff on what he expects to see from his team in Saturday’s game vs. Washington
“He gives you a chance to win and he makes the saves and gives you those little chances to win every night. If he’s going to keep doing that, then we’ll take victories like that all season.”
-Florida forward Kris Versteeg on Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas
Scratched: Connauton, MacDermid
Injured: Peverley (irregular heartbeat), Rome (hip)
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.