Nichushkin, 20, has missed almost the entire regular season with a hip injury and subsequent surgery, appearing in just four games. It was a fairly significant loss for the Stars; in his rookie campaign, Nichushkin appeared in 79 contests and performed well, scoring 14 goals and 34 points while averaging just under 15 minutes per game.
The big Russian also played in all six of Dallas’ opening-round postseason games against Anaheim, scoring a goal and two points.
Should he shine in his return, Dallas will probably be thinking of what could’ve been.
After a slow start, the Stars have been one of the NHL’s top teams since Dec. 13 and made a strong playoff push in March, going 10-5-0. But for all the good they did, they also ended the month with a thud, losing 4-0 in Edmonton on Mar. 27 and 5-3 at home to Calgary on Mar. 30.
Dallas’ next game comes on Thursday, when it hosts the Blues.
Johnny Hockey named NHL’s rookie of the month for March
The NHL’s rookie scoring leader is also its rookie of the month.
On Wednesday, the league announced that Calgary freshman Johnny Gaudreau took home the honors for March after putting up 16 points in 15 games, keeping the Flames afloat in the Western Conference playoff chase.
Gaudreau edged Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (4-11—15 in 16 GP), Boston Bruins teammates Ryan Spooner (7-7—14 in 15 GP) and David Pastrnak (3-10—13 in 15 GP), Carolina Hurricanes center Victor Rask (3-8—11 in 15 GP), and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (6-2-0, 2.50 GAA, .918 SV%) for the honor.
Gaudreau, a fourth-round selection (104th overall) by the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft, recorded at least one point in 10 of his 15 March appearances, highlighted by four multi-point efforts. Those included his fourth career multi-goal game in a 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks March 11 (2-0—2) and his fourth career game-winning goal in a 5-3 triumph over the Dallas Stars March 30 (1-1—2).
Gaudreau joins Tanner Pearson (October), Filip Forsberg (November), John Klingberg (January) and Anders Lee (February) as this season’s rookie of the month winners. He also looks to be a lock as one of this year’s three Calder Trophy finalists, along with Forbsberg and Aaron Ekblad.
PHT Morning Skate: Nemeth gets puck lodged in visor
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Dallas Stars defenseman Patrik Nemeth ended up with the puck lodged between his face and visor during Monday’s contest against Calgary. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt as a result of the fluky play:
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The argument against Alex Ovechkin as a Hart Trophy candidate. (News & Observer)
Devils GM and interim coach Lou Lamoriello felt Stefan Matteau “had an outstanding game” on Sunday. (The Bergen Record)
Chicago goaltender Scott Darling allowed a pretty ugly goal during last night’s contest against Los Angeles, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was pleased with how he responded. (CSN Chicago)
Speaking of which, here are the highlights from Chicago’s 4-1 win over Los Angeles:
Connor McDavid is already getting some unusual fan requests. (Sarnia Observer)
The Columbus Blue Jackets won’t make the playoffs, but they have still managed to break some franchise records. (Columbus Dispatch)
The Flames will start Jonas Hiller for the second time in as many nights on Monday when they take on the Stars in Dallas.
Hiller went nearly two weeks without a start before Flames head coach Bob Hartley gave him the nod yesterday in Nashville, and Hartley’s decision proved a wise one; Hiller stopped 27 of 29 shots in a crucial 5-2 victory, pushing Calgary past L.A. for third place in the Pacific Division.
Prior to Hiller taking the net, Karri Ramo was the Flames’ goalie of record in five straight games, going 2-1-2 over that stretch.
For the Stars, Kari Lehtonen is likely to be back in goal after stopping 33 of 36 shots in an OT win over Vancouver on Saturday.
Bolts at Habs: Ben Bishop vs. Carey Price
Canucks at Blues: Eddie Lack vs. Brian Elliott
Kings at ‘Hawks: Jonathan Quick (probable) vs. (No Chicago starter yet)
Oilers at Avs: Richard Bachman vs. Semyon Varlamov
Sabres at Coyotes: (No Buffalo starter yet) vs. Mike Smith