Anyone who has watched the Dallas Stars over the last ten or so games can point out how improved Valeri Nichushkin has been with each progressing shift. He has been creating his own chances, while still remaining defensively responsible -- exactly what Lindy Ruff was hoping to accomplish when he put him so far down in the lineup.
With his name being called by Ralph and Razor so often, fans knew it was only a matter of time before he finally found the back of the net. As it turns out, Sunday was that time.
Unfortunately, Nichushkin was also involved in one of the uglier highlights as well, having a nasty collision with Craig Anderson less than a couple of minutes into overtime.
Being carried out on a stretcher is never a good sign, but the early reports are that his will be okay. The word on twitter was that he was walking around the tunnels in his gear while the game was still going on. There's no doubt that he will be sore for quite some time, but considering how bad things looked at first glance, it could have easily been worse.
The NHL website has video of the hit online, along with the latest news about the goalie.
A couple of quick thoughts about the hit: It looks like Nichushkin knocked skates with Karlsson as he was weaving his way in front of the net. That makes it extremely difficult to stay on your feet. Nichushkin had also been going hard to the crease throughout the game, and players with that kind of style are just going to run into other players from time to time. Those collisions can also scare aggressive players, causing them to play a bit more timid. With Anderson being okay, hopefully Nichushkin won't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
Mark Stepneski has his recap of yesterday's game, including the quotes on the needed areas of improvement for the Stars. [Stars Inside Edge]
Mike Heika has his spin on the game. And no, before you ask, this one is not horror film themed. [Dallas News]
Razor says that the Stars have a much better chance of making it to the playoffs if they can start getting to the extra frame a little more often. Given the number of shootouts we've already seen, it seems like that might be coming to fruition. [Stars]
I guess it's because of the time of the week that I write these, but there always seems to be a feature on Puck Daddy about fighting. In this week's episode of "The Vent," the appeal goes out to the media to stop putting such high praise on the brain damaging hits. [Puck Daddy]
The Stars weren't the only ones with a nail biting finish on Sunday. Chicago tied their game late in the third, but fell short to the Flames in overtime. [ESPN]
Columbus will be hosting the 2015 All-Star game. Good timing for them, since they just switched to the Eastern Conference. [ESPN]
Grantland has their NHL grab bag for the week. It's always a bit of a longer read, but well worth it. Seriously. Look who they made first star of the week. [Grantland]
And for your video of the day, we have the Stars Rewind (Formerly the Game In 6)