If you want to find encouragement in the Stars right now, there’s no better place to look than Valeri Nichushkin. The 18-year-old winger was the 10th-overall pick in the draft and decided to jump right into the NHL, becoming the youngest player on the Stars since they moved to Dallas in 1993. However, that leap looked pretty high during his first 10 games, as he struggled to score or even create scoring opportunities. But Sunday, Nichushkin broke through and scored his first NHL goal. It was a huge play in a 4-3 shootout win over Ottawa for the Stars, who are sort of reflecting their young forward in development this season. "He’s coming along really well," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "Tonight, he dominated, skating wise, physically. He made the play right off the bat that (Jamie) Benn could have completed, and then in overtime, he could have finished it himself." The Stars start their three-game road trip on a good foot, and even their record at 6-6-2, good for 14 points. Ottawa falls to 4-6-4. Ruff juggled his lines and put Nichushkin with Cody Eakin and Benn. Nichushkin finished with four shots on goal, and a beautiful fading wrister that he took across the grain and put past Craig Anderson in the second period. It was a goal-scorer’s goal. "It’s a good feeling, but teammates helped him," Sergei Gonchar said, serving as Nichushkin’s translator. "Lately, he was frustrated, because he felt like he had good chances every game, so this is a good one to get. It feels good." The game featured the first goal of the season for three different players. Ray Whitney added a goal to the six assists he has accumulated, while Antoine Roussel scored his first on a bit of a luck play. Roussel was battling on the forecheck in the third period, when he gained possession behind the net, and tossed a puck into the slot. Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki, accidentally tapped the puck past his own goalie to give Dallas a 3-2 lead with 17 minutes left to play. The Stars and goalie Kari Lehtonen almost made that lead stand up in regulation, but witnessed the game tied with 9.3 seconds remaining. After Ottawa pulled its goalie, Milan Michalek came off the bench and went flying to the Stars net, he fed Bobby Ryan in the slot, and Ryan was able to get a broken-stick change-up past Lehtonen.
Nichushkin (finally) breaks through in Stars' shootout victory over Senators
Dallas Morning News | Nov 4