Nichushkin, Gonchar nearing returns for slumping Stars

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The Dallas Stars could have forward Valeri Nichushkin and defenseman Sergei Gonchar back in the lineup Tuesday at home to the Kings.

Or, you know, they might not.

“Val got through the weekend OK and in practice looked pretty good, but he’s still a little bit behind on the conditioning,” coach Lindy Ruff said, per the Dallas Morning News. “And for me, it’s just getting a good conditioning read on Sergei. I think he’s healthy enough to play, it’s where his conditioning level is at.”

Nichushkin (hip/groin) has only played two games for the Stars this season. Most recently, he was in the AHL on a conditioning assignment.

Gonchar (ankle) hasn’t played at all during the regular season.

The Stars, winless in their last four, could use some bolstering, wherever it comes from. In their last two games — a 2-1 overtime loss to Anaheim Friday, and a 4-1 loss to Minnesota Saturday — even their high-flying offense has stalled.

“There’s energy missing in our game,” Ruff said after the Wild game. “It’s as simple as that.”