With Curtis McKenzie out for an extended period of time after Nikita Nesterov's suspension-worthy hit from behind, Lindy Ruff is forced to continue to shuffle his lineup despite the success he's seeing on the ice.
Tonight against the Florida Panthers he may work both Valeri Nichushkin and Radek Faksa in to the lineup after the former was scratched two games, and the latter was re-called Friday.
From Mike Heika at morning skate in Florida-
Stars lines this morning: Benn-Seguin-Sharp Fiddler-Spezza-Nichushkin Janmark-Eakin-Hemsky Roussel-Faksa-Sceviour— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) October 17, 2015
I think Lindy Ruff wants Faksa in the middle and Nichushkin on the right wing, so this makes sense in helping the kids succeed.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) October 17, 2015
Travis Moen is the name you don't see there. Heika indicates that Ruff has moved things around to give those youngsters their best shot at succeeding, and that means everyone else sees some interesting line mates. Fiddler Spezza Nichushkin?
A luxury he can afford at the outset because Janmark, Eakin, Hemsky has shown some chemistry. We'll see how things unfold.
Kari Lehtonen came off the ice first this morning so it looks like he is likely starting his third consecutive.
The Panthers are off to a hot 3-1-0 start as well, though they've allowed just 5 goals against in four games to the Stars' 11 against. Roberto Luongo has stopped 62 of 65 shots faced on home-ice in two games this season (.954%), and they've held their last two opponents to 26 shots or fewer.
They own the East's second-best goal differential at +9.
Jaromir Jagr is still alive. He's still making news. He's still with the Panthers, and he can still do things like this:
Jagr's 2nd goal with a water bottle casualty pic.twitter.com/VIe3C3qBAq— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 16, 2015
Not to mention the rest of their lineup, which as we noted in the preseason, is pretty darn good looking-
Top-tier offensive talent through their forward group, and high, notable draft picks littered throughout their defensive pairings. They can move the puck up ice no matter who is out there. Salty group.
Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya lurk in the pipes to back them all up.
See you here for the GDT @ 6pm.
From Stars PR:
"MADE WITH BITS OF REAL PANTHER, SO YOU KNOW IT'S GOOD"
The Dallas Stars travel to BB&T Center in Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers on Saturday night for the first of two regular-season contests in 2015-16. The Stars earned points in both games against Florida (1-0-1) last season. Captain Jamie Benn has registered a total of six points (2-4=6) over the seven games he's played against the Panthers in his career, and has points in all four games this season (3-2=5). Dallas center Tyler Seguin has nine points (1-8=9) in his last nine games against Florida.
Stars center Jason Spezza now leads Dallas in goals (4) and shares the team-lead in points (4-2=6) after he netted another goal in the team's win at Tampa Bay on Thursday. Spezza registered the team's first hat trick of the season (3-0=0) on Tuesday night against Edmonton. It was the forward's sixth career hat trick and his first as a member of the Dallas Stars. The last time Spezza had registered at least six points in the first four games of the season was during the 2008-09 campaign, when he posted seven points (3-4=7) through four games while playing for Ottawa.
MAKING HIS MARK
Rookie forward Mattias Janmark recorded an assist on Thursday (0-1=1) to extend his point streak to four games (2-2=4). He is the first player in Stars franchise history to record a point in each of his first four NHL games. Both of Janmark's goals in the first two games of the season came in the first period on his first shot of the contest. The native of Stockholm, Sweden was originally drafted in the third round (79th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by Detroit and played one playoff game last season with Dallas' AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, before making the Dallas roster.