The Stars’ second line of Ray Whitney, Cody Eakin and Alex Chiasson had another strong showing Thursday night, producing two goals in the 4-3 shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks.
“I think the last few games we’ve played a lot more the way we wanted to,” Eakin said. “We’ve had more zone time and I think we’ve been solid in our D zone. It’s coming along pretty good. The last couple games we’ve got a few chances and a few goals. That’s what we want to see.”
Whitney, Eakin and Chiasson combined for one goal, four assists and a plus-six rating in the game. They were primarily matched up against a line of Tomas Hertl, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns. That San Jose line had no points and a combined minus-five rating.
“You look at Eakin playing against Thornton most of the night, he gave us a heck of a game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He battled in the faceoff circle, he gave us the late kill. Whit has started to skate well the last couple games and make some plays. They had a couple real good looks and probably could have had a couple more. It’s important that we get the secondary scoring. It was great to see.”
Nichushkin returns, draws praise from Ruff
Valeri Nichushkin was back in the lineup Thursday night after being a healthy scratch Tuesday in Colorado. Nichushkin, who played left wing on a line with Shawn Horcoff and Erik Cole, logged 9:56 of ice time and had one shot on goal.
“I did (see improvement),” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He came out and skated really well. I thought he made a couple nice plays early on. It’s going to be a tough haul for the young man. He’s such a great kid, and he’s young. In the games his expectations are so high and if he could lower those a little bit and get less frustrated, he would probably be better off. He came out in his first couple shifts and worked as hard as he possibly could. It starts with putting the work in and he did that tonight.”
*Antoine Roussel got the better of San Jose’s Matt Irwin in a fight late in the second period. Roussel dropped the gloves with Irwin, who had just boarded Stars defenseman Trevor Daley.
*Tyler Kennedy’s goal 9 seconds into the game was the quickest goal ever scored against the Stars franchise. The old record was 10 seconds, held by Duane Sutter of the New York Islanders vs. the Minnesota North Stars on November 15, 1986 and by Dave Bolland of the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Dallas Stars on March 16, 2012.
*San Jose outshot the Stars 35-31.
*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.
*Alex Chiasson led the Stars with six shots on goal.
*The Stars won 34 of 67 (51 percent) of faceoffs in the game.
*Cody Eakin won 9 of 16 (56 percent) of faceoffs.
*Chiasson won 4 of 5 (80 percent) of his faceoffs.
*Brenden Dillon led the Stars with six blocked shots.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Rich Peverley
Ray Whitney – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson
Valeri Nichushkin - Shawn Horcoff – Erik Cole
Antoine Roussel – Vernon Fiddler – Ryan Garbutt
Alex Goligoski – Sergei Gonchar
Brenden Dillon – Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley – Jordie Benn
Dan Ellis (starter)
Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Lane MacDermid
Injured: Kari Lehtonen (lower body)
Conditioning assignment: Aaron Rome
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.