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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 3:32 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Ducks recognize opportunity before them in Game 6

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks do not want history to repeat itself heading into Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series Sunday at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).

The Ducks lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 and are eager for the opportunity to advance to the second round.

"When you can close a game out, it's something you want to take advantage of, but we know how difficult it's going to be," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "They're not just going to let us take it. They have a lot of pride and they're going to play a great game in front of their home crowd, so we need to be ready for that challenge."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 2:20 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Beleskey a game-time decision for Ducks

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks could get a huge boost in Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars on Sunday at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW)

Left wing Matt Beleskey, who has been out the past four games with a lower-body injury, may return.

Beleskey had a goal and an assist in Anaheim's 4-3 victory in Game 1 at Honda Center, but hasn't played since.

However, he went through morning skate Sunday without issue and appears ready to replace Emerson Etem on Anaheim's fourth line alongside left wing Devante Smith-Pelly and center Rickard Rakell.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 8:38 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Stars' Whitney relishes another shot at playoff run

FRISCO, Texas -- Being in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is definitely nothing new for Ray Whitney.

Whitney, who is in his 23rd NHL season, has been to the playoffs nine times. Before making the postseason with the Dallas Stars this season, he had appeared in the playoffs two times each with the San Jose Sharks, Carolina Hurricanes and Phoenix Coyotes and once each with the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings.

As the Western Conference First Round series between the Stars and Anaheim Ducks shifts back to Anaheim for Game 5 on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW), Whitney discussed the playoff experience.

"It's always a special time of year. You can just see it when you watch the games. You see every shift's got a little something to it and just the overall atmosphere and the crowd," Whitney, 41, said Thursday. "It's an exciting time of the year that I think people at times take for granted. You realize you don't get there every year. Once you're in there, [qualifying] turns out to be the easy part."


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Posted On Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 6:55 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Stars defenseman Dillon might return for Game 5

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon will be a game-time decision for Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round series with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday at Honda Center, according to coach Lindy Ruff.

The young defenseman participated in an optional skate Thursday before the Stars departed for Anaheim.

Dillon, who was third among Stars defensemen with an average of 21:05 of ice time during the regular season, has been out since April 11, when he sustained a lower-body injury in a 3-0 playoff-clinching win against the St. Louis Blues. He has missed the past five games.

Should Dillon draw in for Game 5 (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW), it would be his debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

"If I'm going to be in, I want to be able to help the team," Dillon said. "Things are getting better and better and just kind of keeping tabs with the doctors and the medical staff. They've done a tremendous job of monitoring me and making sure I'm getting the best treatment I can."


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Posted On Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 9:46 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Ducks' Robidas optimistic after second leg injury

DALLAS -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Stephane Robidas will not need surgery after fracturing his right leg during Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars and addressed reporters for the first time since sustaining the injury Monday.

It was his second leg fracture this season; he sustained a similar injury while playing for Dallas in a game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 29. Robidas spent the next four months recovering before being traded to Anaheim prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

"I knew it wasn't as bad as the first time because the first time, there's no way I was getting back up. The pain was so bad. This time wasn't as bad, but I knew something was wrong," Robidas said while the Ducks played the Stars in Game 4 at American Airlines Center. Anaheim held a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 2:35 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Stars' Dillon reports progress, Game 5 return possible

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon will not play in Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW), but could return for Game 5 on Friday at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Dillon participated in the morning skate on Wednesday with no issue and is progressing nicely in his recovery from an injury he sustained in a 3-0 win against the St. Louis Blues on April 11, the night Dallas clinched its first trip to the postseason in six years.

"Felt better, things are progressing day-by-day. Just trying to take it one step at a time and do what I can control," Dillon said Wednesday.


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Posted On Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 2:32 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Ducks' Selanne a scratch, Fistric likely in for Robidas

DALLAS -- Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne is a healthy scratch for Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series with the Dallas Stars on Wednesday at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).

"Well, obviously we lost the last game and a lot of times the lineup is going to be different," Selanne said after the morning skate. "I didn't think that's anything new, but it is what it is."

Selanne, who is playing his final NHL season, has one assist in three games for Anaheim, which leads the best-of-7 series, 2-1. Selanne learned he would be scratched after practice Tuesday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 8:37 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Ducks, Stars ready for another physical battle

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars combined for 64 hits, 58 penalty minutes and plenty of contentious moments in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series.

The teams expect another physical battle Wednesday, when the Stars will try to even the series by winning Game 4 at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET; TSN, CNBC, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).

"Obviously we need to up our level of our game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said Tuesday. "We need to compete a little bit harder, get to that net a little bit harder and create some stuff around their crease so their goalie is not so comfortable. That involves getting in there, screening, getting second shots."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 7:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Stars' Dillon unlikely to play in Game 4

FRISCO, Texas -- There was some good news from the Dallas Stars' optional skate Tuesday.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon, who has been out since Dallas' final game of the regular season with a lower-body injury, was on the ice with several of his teammates.

"It was awesome," Dillon, who hasn't played since April 11 against the St. Louis Blues, said. "It was a step in the right direction, especially at time like this where we are making a hopeful big playoff run, and the guys are doing great. Especially after last night, it's great to get out and have a smile on your face and share things."

Since Dillon hasn't played in nearly two weeks, he has missed the first three games of the Stars' Western Conference First Round series with the Anaheim Ducks, which Dallas trails 2-1. But Dillon is hopeful he will at least be able to participate in the morning skate on Wednesday in advance of Game 4 at American Airlines Center (8 p.m. ET, TSN, CNBC, RDS2, PRIME, FS-SW).


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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 3:33 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Ducks look to sustain road success in Game 3

DALLAS -- During the regular season, the Anaheim Ducks had the second-best road record in the NHL (25-12-4). And the Ducks, who lead their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the Dallas Stars 2-0, want to carry that success away from Honda Center into the postseason.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau knows if the Ducks are to take a 3-0 series lead by winning Game 3 (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, KDOC, TXA 21) at American Airlines Center on Monday night, they will have to weather an early storm from what should be a fired-up Stars team playing its first home playoff game in six years.

"I think they're going to come out pretty hard. There's no doubt about that," Boudreau said. "We just got to play the way we're capable of playing. It's going to be a hostile environment for sure."

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 2:54 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Stars hoping home crowd helps turn tide of series

DALLAS -- It has been nearly six full years since the Dallas Stars last hosted a Stanley Cup Playoff game at American Airlines Center.

So when the Stars take the ice Monday for Game 3 of their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the Anaheim Ducks (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, KDOC, TXA 21), a series they currently trail 2-0, they are expecting a raucous atmosphere.

Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski knows a thing or two about playing in front of a great home crowd in the postseason from his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he was part of their Stanley Cup-winning team in 2009, and he expects a similar vibe Monday evening in downtown Dallas.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 4:35 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Stars series blog

Stars' Dillon skates, but ruled out for Game 3

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon will not play in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round Series against the Anaheim Ducks (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, KDOC, TXA 21) at American Airlines Center. Dillon, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, skated before practice Sunday morning but isn't ready.

The Ducks lead the best-of-7 series 2-0.

"[He] skated this morning for just a short period of time, [he's] better," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "[He] may have a chance to skate with the team [Monday], which we're advancing, but he won't be ready to play."

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Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 2:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Depleted Blues piece together lineup to face Stars

DALLAS -- The St. Louis Blues not only lost 4-2 at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night and fell out of first place in the Central Division, but the Blues are also down three players -- right wing T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury), center Derek Roy (upper body) and left wing Vladimir Sobotka (lower body) -- after that defeat at Xcel Energy Center.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed Oshie, Roy and Sobotka would not play for St. Louis on Friday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Hitchcock added center and captain David Backes (lower body) and left wing Brenden Morrow (lower body), a former Dallas captain, will each miss a second straight game.

"We've been able to pretty much the whole year stay healthy. We would have preferred better timing, but it is what it is and it's all about who's in now," Hitchcock said of his team being in scramble mode. "You never know, everybody goes through this. We just got it at the end of year. You got to just stay focused on the guys you have."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Chasing playoff spot, Stars focused on improvement

DALLAS -- After defeating the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday at American Airlines Center to move two points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes for the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with three games to play, the Dallas Stars have shifted their focus to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It's a game rescheduled from March 10, when Stars center Rich Peverley collapsed on the Dallas bench early in the first period due to a cardiac event.

Columbus and Dallas will play a full 60 minutes, but the Blue Jackets will begin with the 1-0 lead they held when the game was halted.

"There's games that I feel the way we've played in the first period we're down 1-0, but it's the first time officially we're down 1-0," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of trailing from the opening puck drop.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 2:47 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars return home looking to control destiny

DALLAS -- With four regular-season games remaining, the Dallas Stars enter Tuesday one point ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes for the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As the Stars begin a three-game homestand Tuesday against the Nashville Predators, coach Lindy Ruff would like to see his team maintain control of its destiny.

Dallas (38-29-11, 87 points) is 8-1-2 at home since Jan. 30, and after going 3-2-0 during a five-game road trip, Ruff is happy to be returning to familiar surroundings.

"We've played well here of late and played some real good hockey. If you asked me if I wanted to play at home or on the road, I'd pick home," Ruff said.

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Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 1:21 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to continue playoff push against Nashville

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are 7-1-2 in their past 10 games at American Airlines Center and would like to continue that trend on Friday against the Nashville Predators.

Dallas (34-27-11, 79 points) is currently five points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the Western Conference's final wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, although the Stars have two games in hand.

They will be minus left wing Erik Cole, who will miss a fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. And it appears fellow left wing Ray Whitney, who missed practice on Thursday with an illness, will be a game-time decision.

"We're going to dress an extra guy," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after the morning skate. "[Whitney playing is] depending on if he gets a good meal in him and feels well tonight; energy level's a big deal. He wasn't feeling well yesterday and was sick, but is feeling a lot better today."

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Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 2:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars seeking points, not revenge, as they host Jets

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are eight days removed from a 7-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. However, as the Jets and Stars face each other again Monday at American Airlines Center, revenge will not be the goal of the Dallas players.

"Points are so important that the games within the game are overrated at this point in the year," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "It's more about points and playing the way we're supposed to play. At the end of the night if you do that you have a good chance of winning."

Dallas beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Saturday to snap a four-game winless streak, and the Stars are 6-1-1 in their past eight home games, a trend coach Lindy Ruff would like to see continue.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 2:26 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Horcoff returns for Stars against Ottawa

DALLAS -- After missing the past four games with a broken finger, Dallas Stars center Shawn Horcoff will return to the ice on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators at American Airlines Center.

"It looks like he's going to play," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said in a short pregame media session.

Horcoff will likely center Dallas' fourth line alongside left wing Ray Whitney and rookie right wing Valeri Nichushkin. While Horcoff will play, veteran left wing Erik Cole, who did not practice on Friday, and rookie right wing Alex Chiasson, who left practice early, will be game-time decisions.

After practice on Friday, Ruff said Cole was fine and that he was just given a maintenance day. But Chiasson left the practice rink early with an undisclosed injury.

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Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 2:21 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars face Flames without centers Eakin, Horcoff

DALLAS -- In what already has been an eventful week for the Dallas Stars, coach Lindy Ruff now has injuries to two centers to contend with in advance of a game Friday against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center.

Cody Eakin and Shawn Horcoff are out after being struck by pucks earlier in the week. Eakin's injury occurred during a 3-2 overtime win at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, and Horcoff was injured in practice Thursday.

"Both won't play," Ruff said. "[Eakin] is day-to-day. Hopefully he'll play in Winnipeg [on Sunday]. Shawn might be a little bit longer."

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Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:51 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars' Lehtonen faces shots, could return Sunday

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen faced shots from teammates during the morning skate in advance of the game Friday against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center.

It was the first time Lehtonen faced shots since sustaining a concussion in the third period of a 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

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Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:00 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Thomas to make first start for Stars vs. Blue Jackets

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at American Airlines Center, the Stars will not only look to extend their current winning streak to three games, but also attempt to sweep a three-game homestand.

Dallas is six days removed from a 4-2 loss to Columbus at Nationwide Arena, a game where the Stars didn't start well and found themselves down 3-0 after one period. Avoiding a repeat of those opening 20 minutes is imperative for Dallas coach Lindy Ruff.

"Like I said, I thought we were kind of half-in in the game. We really didn't engage. I thought when we engaged, we played pretty well. Fought hard to get back in the game but didn't quite get it done," Ruff said. "I thought last couple games here at home, we've done a real good of job coming out and playing hard early, like to build off of that."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 2:38 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars hope to honor Modano with win against Wild

DALLAS -- When the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars meet Saturday night at American Airlines Center, much of the attention will be focused on the pregame ceremony to retire the No. 9 of former Stars franchise icon Mike Modano.

Dallas center Jamie Benn is one of two Stars who was a teammate of Modano, and the current captain considers it an honor to have skated with such a truly incomparable player.

"Obviously, he's a special player, a big part of the Dallas Stars organization and growing hockey here in Texas," Benn said. "He's still pretty much the face of the franchise and he always will be."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 2:31 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Matthias to debut for Canucks, Thomas joins Stars

DALLAS -- When the Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars square off at American Airlines Center on Thursday night, each team will have at least one new face on its roster.

For Vancouver, which lost 1-0 at the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday and is 1-9-1 over its past 11 games, those new faces will be center Shawn Matthias and goaltender Jacob Markstrom, both acquired in the trade with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday that sent Roberto Luongo and Steven Anthony to the Panthers.

Matthias will likely slot into centering the Canucks' third line alongside Tom Sestito and David Booth, and Vancouver coach John Tortorella likes the skill set his new centerman provides.

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Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 8:09 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Dillon returns for Stars vs. Sabres

DALLAS -- After missing a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon returned to the ice on Monday against the Buffalo Sabres at American Airlines Center.

Dillon missed the game Saturday with a lower-body injury, the first he had missed all season for Dallas. He participated in the morning skate on Monday without issue, but was called a game-time decision by Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

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Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 2:36 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres' Moulson in lineup; Stars' Ruff goes for 600

DALLAS -- Buffalo Sabres left wing Matt Moulson did not participate in an optional morning skate Monday morning at American Airlines Center. However, Moulson, an ongoing subject of trade speculation ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday, will play his customary role on Buffalo's first line against the Dallas Stars on Monday night.

"The vast majority of the time we have optional skates in pregame skates and guys consider their options, so [Moulson] felt it'd be better if he didn't go back out there today," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.

Joining Moulson on the top line will be center Tyler Ennis, who has missed the Sabres' past two games with general body soreness.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 2:20 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to continue strong run post-Olympics

DALLAS -- Before a 19-day break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Dallas Stars were on a good run, going 6-1-2 over their final nine games. Dallas returns to the ice Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes at American Airlines Center and Lindy Ruff's club is looking to continue that run in their final game of February.

"Yeah, I said the only disappointment this morning is we've got to wait until tonight to play," Ruff said after the morning skate. "It's great to be back. The guys sense the importance of these coming games and they've worked hard the past seven, eight days to be ready."

Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings the same from a 2-1 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb. 8 in Dallas' final game before the break. Kari Lehtonen will start his fourth consecutive game in goal for the Stars.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.08.2014 / 1:33 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes, Stars hope to enter Olympic break with win

DALLAS -- The Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars share a common goal in their final game before the NHL breaks for the 2014 Sochi Olympics: win on Saturday at American Airlines Center.

The Coyotes have a bit of momentum after blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 Friday night in Glendale, Chicago's first time being shut out in 127 games. That victory, which featured an appearance by 10 members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic "Miracle on Ice" team, was watched intently by Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

"I don't think Chicago was ready to play. I thought Phoenix really dominated the game. They [Chicago] had a little bit of a push back late," Ruff said.

Dallas is 5-1-2 in its past eight games and won 3-1 in Glendale on Tuesday to close out a three-game road trip that saw the Stars take five of a possible six points. So Ruff knows exactly what to expect from his second matchup with the Coyotes in four days.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 2:07 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars seek rebound effort against desperate Devils

DALLAS -- Three days after seeing their three-game winning streak end, the Dallas Stars look to rebound against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday at American Airlines Center.

Dallas lost to the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Monday night to end the streak, but Stars coach Lindy Ruff knows if his club is to find a win against the Devils, a team that beat them 1-0 in New Jersey on Jan. 9, the formula is simple.

"They're a tough team to play against," Ruff said. "They take a lot of pride in that. This game is about creating, it's about defending, and they're a tough team to get chances against. They don't give up a lot of shots and they don't take a lot of penalties. I like the way they play. I just think nine times out of 10 they're not going to beat themselves."

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Posted On Monday, 01.27.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to extend winning streak to four

DALLAS -- It was nearly one week ago that Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff called a closed-door meeting with his players, a meeting also attended by Dallas general manager Jim Nill. And since that meeting last Tuesday, which came just hours after Dallas lost 4-1 at the Nashville Predators, the Stars have won three straight by outscoring the Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins by a total of 14-1.

Dallas has another challenge looming Monday when the Colorado Avalanche visit American Airlines Center.

One reason why the Stars have started to surge is because their power play is firing on all cylinders. In their past seven games they are 9-for-24 (37.5 percent) on the power play, a welcome sight for a team that has struggled with the man advantage for much of the season.

"I think our execution is better," Ruff said. "Our finish has been better. We've had a couple power plays where it's only been one chance but we've put that one in. I think lately our entries have been real good, getting in the zone, setting up and getting that first opportunity or trying to score off the rush."


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Posted On Saturday, 01.25.2014 / 2:38 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars, Penguins each seek three-game winning streak

DALLAS -- Two teams that have scored 11 goals in winning their past two games meet Saturday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars square off at American Airlines Center.

Pittsburgh is 7-1-1 in January and the Penguins have won four of their past five, leading coach Dan Bylsma to keep his lines largely intact from recent wins against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday and New York Islanders on Thursday.

Bylsma is tweaking his third and fourth lines a bit, going with a third line of Taylor Pyatt, Brandon Sutter and Jayson Megna. Pittsburgh's fourth line likely consists of Tanner Glass and Craig Adams centered by Andrew Ebbett, who has missed the past 21 games due to injury.

Marc-Andre Fleury will start in net for the Penguins.


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Posted On Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 2:40 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to start streak, snap Maple Leafs' run

DALLAS -- After shutting out the Minnesota Wild 4-0 on Tuesday to earn their second win of 2014, the Dallas Stars hope to build on that strong effort against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will hit the ice Thursday at American Airlines Center sporting a six-game winning streak.

"[They are a] real good transition team, real good speed up front," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Toronto. "Three or four of their guys can kill you on transition. Real good team at creating odd-numbered chances with their speed. Their power play is clicking. I think their goaltending right now has been as good as I've seen it in a while."

Ruff is keeping his lines intact from the win against Minnesota with one minor change to his fourth line. Rich Peverley, who centered that line Tuesday, will switch spots with left wing Shawn Horcoff.

Kari Lehtonen will start his sixth straight game in net for Dallas.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 2:24 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars hope meeting, top-line reunion help effort

DALLAS -- Hours after the Dallas Stars lost 4-1 at the Nashville Predators on Monday, Stars coach Lindy Ruff called a closed-door meeting in the locker room at American Airlines Center on Tuesday morning.

The meeting, which also included general manager Jim Nill, lasted for approximately 20 minutes.

"It was good," Ruff said of the meeting. "I've been through stretches like this and it's believing in your system, trusting in your system, it's being able to trust the guy next to you. The two words I look for and I want the players to dig down and grab are energy and emotion. I want to see energy and emotion [Tuesday]. And when the game's over I want them to be proud of the effort they put in, and we'll take the result after that."

The loss to the Predators extended Dallas road winless skid to five (0-4-1) and dropped the Stars to 1-8-1 in January.


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Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 2:21 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to start new streak vs. Bruins

DALLAS -- After snapping their longest losing streak in almost 18 years, the Dallas Stars now look to start a new streak when the Boston Bruins visit American Airlines Center on Thursday.

Dallas beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Tuesday to snap a six-game losing streak, the club’s longest since the 1995-96 season. It was the Stars' first win of 2014 and a result coach Lindy Ruff would like to build on when Dallas concludes a three-game homestand.

"The opportunity's right in front of us and we can really dictate our own destiny, where we end up," Ruff said. "That's going take a big commitment. That's going to take a lot of hard work. We have guys that need to go above and beyond here. If we're going to make our push, our push has to be now."

Ruff will use the same forward lines and defense pairings from the win against the Oilers, and Kari Lehtonen again will start in net.

Stars captain Jamie Benn was one of several players who did not take part in the optional morning skate Thursday, but Benn will occupy his usual spot on Dallas' top line, alongside Tyler Seguin and Erik Cole, come game time.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.14.2014 / 2:53 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to end losing streak vs. Oilers

DALLAS -- Exactly two weeks into 2014 the Dallas Stars still are after their first win of the year. A 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday extended the Stars' losing streak to six games, the franchise's longest since the 1995-96 season.

The Stars have not lost seven straight in regulation since the club's 1993 move to Dallas. It last happened in the 1989-90 season when the Minnesota North Stars were winless between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12, 1989, a stretch where they were outscored 30-11.

However, Stars captain Jamie Benn said he isn't too concerned with where this current streak falls in club history. Instead, he's focused on ending it Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center.

"Losing's never fun," Benn said. "You've got to play a full 60 minutes in this League to get a victory. We've got to find a way to get the job done [Tuesday]."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.12.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars after elusive win against Islanders

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are currently on a five-game winless streak, which is rare territory in recent history. In fact, the Stars haven't lost six in a now in regulation since the 1995-96 team was outscored 28-13 in a six-game skid between Dec. 5 and Dec. 15, 1995.

The downturn started with a 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 2 at American Airlines Center. The Stars' last win was Dec. 31 when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 to end 2013 on a high note.

In addition to the loss to the Canadiens, the Stars fell 5-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 4 to end a five-game homestand at 2-2-1. During a recent three-game road trip through New York City, Dallas lost 7-3 at the New York Islanders on Monday, 1-0 at the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and 3-2 at the New York Rangers on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 8:17 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Datsyuk sits with lower-body injury

DALLAS -- Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk sat out the game Saturday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center with a lower-body injury.

Datsyuk, second on Detroit with 32 points (15 goals), participated in morning skate on Saturday but called himself questionable for the game afterward. He did not practice on Friday in what was called a "maintenance day" by Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

With Datsyuk out, Luke Glendening, who has been centering the Red Wings' fourth line was the likely candidate to move up. Right wing Mikael Samuelsson, who hasn't played since Dec. 17 against the Anaheim Ducks, returned and skated on Detroit's fourth line.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 2:32 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Datsyuk a game-time decision for Red Wings

DALLAS -- Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk participated in the morning skate Saturday in advance of the game against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

However, Datsyuk is a game-time decision.

"Yeah, we'll see tonight who plays," was all Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had to say about his lineup.

Datsyuk did not practice on Friday, an absence termed a "maintenance day" by Babcock.

If Datsyuk doesn't play, Luke Glendening, who has been centering Detroit's fourth line, might be in line to move up and Mikael Samuelsson would draw back into the lineup.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 8:56 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars forward Whitney out again

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney is out for a second straight game Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Whitney, who sat out a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday due to illness, participated in the morning skate Thursday but was scratched.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 2:50 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Horcoff out for Stars; Murray in for Canadiens

DALLAS -- For the second straight game the Dallas Stars will be without a key veteran. Center Shawn Horcoff missed the morning skate Thursday with an illness and was ruled out for the game against the Montreal Canadiens at American Airlines Center.

"He's been bit with the flu bug so he won't play [Thursday]," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.

Dustin Jeffrey, who filled in for Ray Whitney in the Stars' 3-2 win Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings (a game Whitney missed due to illness), will slide into Horcoff's spot on the left side of the fourth line.

Whitney went through the morning skate with no issue but there is some doubt about his availability for the game, so the Stars recalled forward Colton Sceviour from Texas of the American Hockey League.

Sceviour, who returned to the AHL on Dec. 28, had three goals and one assist in seven NHL games after being recalled Dec. 9. He leads the AHL with 21 goals.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 8:06 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars' Whitney scratched due to illness

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney missed the morning skate due to illness and was scratched for the game against Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

Dustin Jeffrey, who was claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 17, got the call on the Stars' fourth line alongside Shawn Horcoff and Vernon Fiddler. Jeffrey, a healthy scratch for the past eight games, last played Dec. 12 at the Nashville Predators.

Whitney, who has four goals and 15 points in 33 games, has played 16 straight games for Dallas since missing five games with a lower-body injury in November.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 6:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Backes scratched for Blues

DALLAS -- After sustaining an upper-body injury late in a 6-5 shootout win Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues captain David Backes was scratched for a game Sunday afternoon with the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Backes, who is tied for the Blues lead in points with 30 (16 goals), logged 20:42 of ice time in the win against the Blackhawks.

St. Louis had two players who missed the Chicago game return to the ice: center Derek Roy, who missed the game due to illness, and center Vladimir Sobotka who was out with an upper-body injury.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 12:57 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars view Blues as another test

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars did not have a morning skate in advance of their game Sunday afternoon at American Airlines Center against the St. Louis Blues, but after practice Saturday, Stars coach Lindy Ruff talked about this being the latest measuring-stick game for his team.

"We know that they've been one of the top teams. They've been very consistent through the first 40 here, so we know we're going to have our hands full," Ruff said.

Dallas had three players absent from practice Saturday due to illness: center Cody Eakin, defenseman Alex Goligoski and forward Rich Peverley. Ruff said their status would be evaluated before the game, which starts at 5 p.m. local time.

But rookie wing Alex Chiasson, who missed the Stars' 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Friday with an illness, practiced Saturday and appears set to return.

"I'll go to the rink tomorrow and see how I feel," Chiasson told the Stars website Saturday. "You want to be part of this team. You want to be part of the success. It's tough sitting on the bike watching the guys play."

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Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 2:33 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars place Gonchar on injured reserve, activate Rome

DALLAS -- With Dallas Stars veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar going on injured reserve with concussion-like symptoms, coach Lindy Ruff will plug in Aaron Rome, who has played in just three games this season, against the Nashville Predators on Friday at American Airlines Center.

Rome was activated from injured reserve earlier Friday.

"[Gonchar] is still not feeling quite right so we've got to get him through that, and when we do he'll start to exercise again," Ruff said of Gonchar, who last played Dec. 21.

Rome last played Dec. 16 against the Colorado Avalanche but has missed Dallas' past four games with a lower-body injury.

"I've played a few games and I've played on some good teams, so it's just about getting back in and getting comfortable and playing and being urgent," Rome said. "I want to be bringing an element that can help the team and fit in seamlessly."

Kari Lehtonen will start in net for the Stars for a fourth consecutive game.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 1:51 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ruff keeping Stars' lines same; Alberts in for Canucks

DALLAS -- After the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Tuesday at American Airlines Center, one night after a 6-3 loss to the Avalanche at Pepsi Center, Stars coach Lindy Ruff is keeping his lines and defensive pairings the same for a visit Thursday from the Vancouver Canucks.

"We had a complete turnaround where we did good things with the puck. We had people coming back and I thought all lines paid real good attention to detail," Ruff said.

However, one change for Dallas will be in net where starter Kari Lehtonen returns to the crease after Dan Ellis started Tuesday and made 25 saves to earn his fourth win of the season.

Lehtonen has struggled recently, going 2-3-3 with a 3.40 goals-against-average and a .902 save percentage in his past eight starts. However, Ruff doesn't sound concerned.

"He doesn't like his numbers in the last few games and I think it's one area that he knows he needs to clean up," Ruff said. "We've seen him play spectacular even when outshot and outplayed. But I'd expect a lot tighter game by our team and he knows he wants to be better."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 11:12 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars back home for second crack at Avalanche

After a solid 6-3 win on Saturday at Winnipeg, the Dallas Stars headed into their game Monday with the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center looking to finish their three-game Central Division road trip on a high note.

However, the Stars were overwhelmed by the speed of the Avalanche, who lit the lamp four times in the middle frame, including a goal with three seconds left to make it 5-1 heading into the second intermission.

"I think just as a team, we kind of got away from our game there," said Stars rookie defenseman Kevin Connauton, who had his first NHL goal late in the first period. "We handed them some easy chances and they've got so much skill up front that if you're going to give them looks like that they're going to bury them."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 2:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Quenneville confident Blackhawks' Raanta is ready

DALLAS -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will be sidelined about three weeks with a lower-body injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday.

Crawford was injured in the first period of the Blackhawks' game Sunday against the Florida Panthers and did not travel with his teammates to Dallas.

Antti Raanta replaced Crawford in the 6-2 win against the Panthers and will start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. Kent Simpson has been recalled from the American Hockey League to serve as the backup. Regular backup Nikolai Khabibulin is out with a lower-body injury.

Quenneville has no reservations about starting the rookie Raanta, who is 3-0-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average.

"Well, he's handled it well. He's been in the net. Game's been on the line, he's been solid for us. Just moving forward, you like his approach, you like his competitiveness," Quenneville said. "He's a battler. It'll be a good test for him as well."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ellis gets start for Stars against Flyers

DALLAS -- Dan Ellis is the starting goaltender for the Dallas Stars in an afternoon game with the Philadelphia Flyers at American Airlines Center. Ellis, who is 2-3-0 with a 3.52 goals-against average, is making his sixth start of the season for Dallas.

Kari Lehtonen had started the previous four games for the Stars. Ellis' last start came on Nov. 26 when he stopped 28 of 31 shots in a 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Steve Mason is in goal for the Flyers.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers' Couturier hopes to continue hot play in Dallas

DALLAS -- Three days after posting his first four-point game in a 6-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier is hoping to continue his hot play as he and the Flyers visit the Dallas Stars Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center. Hoping to continue his hot hand, Couturier is also celebrating his 21st birthday Saturday. So another big game would only enhance the celebration.

Any plans for practice on Friday were halted when Dallas was hit by a major snowstorm, causing power outages and dangerous roads. So instead of skating, the Flyers opted for a workout at their hotel.

"I've seen weather like this in a lot of places, but in the other places they have trucks and vehicles that take care of the roads," Flyers coach Craig Berube told the team web site. "In Dallas they're not prepared for it."

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Posted On Sunday, 12.01.2013 / 6:16 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars' Seguin out with concussion-like symptoms

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin, who leads the team with 12 goals, will miss the game Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers due to concussion-like symptoms. Seguin, who joined Dallas in a July 4 trade with the Boston Bruins, had been called a game-time decision earlier in the day by Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Seguin had missed two practices earlier in the week with what was termed a muscle issue, but he appeared to be fine in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at American Airlines Center.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.01.2013 / 11:54 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Seguin a game-time decision for Stars

DALLAS -- After being held out of practice twice earlier in the week with what was termed a muscle issue, Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin is a game-time decision, Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Sunday morning.

Dallas, hosting the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center in a game with a 5 p.m. CT start time, did not skate Sunday due to the early start, but Ruff addressed the media briefly outside the locker room following a short team meeting.

Seguin, who came over in a July 4 trade with the Boston Bruins, currently leads Dallas with 12 goals and is second on the team with 23 points. He was also held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but skated in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday in his customary spot on the Stars’ top line apparently with no issue.

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Posted On Friday, 11.29.2013 / 2:05 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars will have Seguin in lineup vs. Blackhawks

DALLAS -- After holding Tyler Seguin out of practice the past two days with what was termed a muscle issue, the Dallas Stars center returned for the morning skate on Friday and by all accounts will play against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Seguin, who leads the Stars with 12 goals and is second to captain Jamie Benn with 23 points, will return to his normal place centering the top line alongside Benn and rookie Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars' top pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

"[He] just had a little bit of muscle issue so we decided to rest him," Ruff said of Seguin.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.26.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars activate Whitney off injured reserve

DALLAS -- Veteran forward Ray Whitney, who has missed the last five games with a groin injury, will return for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks and man his customary spot on the left side of the second line alongside Cody Eakin and Steve Chiasson.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff sees Whitney's return as not only bolstering that youthful line, but also feels his return could benefit the Dallas power play, which is an NHL-worst 1-for-29 (3.4 percent) at home.

"Well, we know that Ray has always been a good power play guy. Before he got hurt, he had some great opportunities. Been a little bit snake bit like some of our guys were, some of the opportunities haven't gone in," Ruff said. "But I believe as the zone time keeps going up and the amount of attempts going to the net keeps going up, the puck will start going in."


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Posted On Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 1:58 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars hoping return home sparks power play

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars have won six straight on the road, including a recent three-game sweep through Western Canada that saw them beat the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames on consecutive nights before finishing the trip with a 2-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

However, the Stars have played just seven times at home, fewest in the League. In Dallas’ most recent home game, a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Nov. 9, the Stars played even with Chicago for most of the first two periods before Patrick Kane's power-play goal gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. Chicago netted two more goals late to make the final score a bit deceiving.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff wants to see a similar effort from his team Thursday against the New York Rangers, minus the crucial error by the penalty kill that led to Kane's eventual game-winner.

"Obviously we've got to do a lot of the right things," Ruff said. "Our last home game I thought we had real good energy, we came out real well, we made a couple mental mistakes and I'd like to stay away from those."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 2:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to continue streak against Blackhawks

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars' recent three-game road trip couldn't have gone much better as the Stars beat the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins in the shootout and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena in overtime.

But first-year Dallas coach Lindy Ruff knows his club faces another big test Saturday night as the reigning NHL Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks visit American Airlines Center for the first time this season.

"I think they're probably one of the best transition teams in the league," Ruff said of Chicago. "They're as good as any team at getting four guys up, sometimes five guys up. When you turn it over, it leads to them going the other way and they've got skill up front."

Kari Lehtonen, who is 5-1-2 with a 2.25 goals-against-average since returning from a lower-body injury on Oct. 24 against the Calgary Flames, will start his ninth straight game in net for Dallas.

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Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 8:40 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Varlamov starts for Avalanche; Talbot debuts

DALLAS -- Two days after Semyon Varlamov was arrested on domestic-violence charges in Denver, he started in goal for the Colorado Avalanche on Friday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

"I just feel it's the right decision," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said after the morning skate. "Why wait? [Varlamov] looks good this morning. We're all aware what happened and we just feel that he's our guy. We have a lot of confidence in him as a goalie. We feel that it's good for him to play [Friday]."

Varlamov appeared in a Denver court Thursday facing charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault stemming from his arrest Wednesday. He spent Wednesday night in jail but was released after his court appearance Thursday, posting a $5,000 bond. He was told he could travel with the team and was given a restraining order to stay away from his girlfriend.

Varlamov, who did not address the media after morning skate, is 7-1-0 this season with a 1.76 goals-against average and .945 save percentage for the Avalanche, who are 10-1-0.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.26.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kane a question for Jets; Stars' Goligoski a go

DALLAS -- Winnipeg Jets wing Evander Kane did not skate Saturday morning in Dallas and coach Claude Noel called him a game-time decision for a contest with the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

"Yeah, it was just maintenance," Noel said of Kane missing the skate. "Game-time situation, we'll see how he's doing."

Kane was at the arena and was seen in the locker room in street clothes. But when asked if he thought Kane, who is currently tied for the team lead in goals with five would play, the Jets coach remained non-committal.

"We have to see," Noel said.

Should Kane not be able to go against the Stars, it's likely that Chris Thorburn, who did travel with the club, could take his place on Winnipeg's second line alongside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler. That's how that line looked during part of the morning skate.

Ondrej Pavelec will start his sixth straight game in net for the Jets.

Dallas will see Alex Goligoski return to the blue line after being a healthy scratch Thursday in a 5-1 win against the Calgary Flames. Goligoski, who has a minus-10 rating this season, was paired with Jordie Benn during morning skate.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.24.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stajan returns for Flames; Connauton debuts for Stars

DALLAS -- The Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars will make several changes to their respective lineups for their game Thursday here at American Airlines Center.

For Calgary, Matt Stajan will return to the ice for the first time since Oct. 3, while for Dallas defenseman Kevin Connauton will make his NHL debut with Alex Goligoski a healthy scratch.

Stajan has missed the Flames' past eight games with a leg injury but likely will be on a line with Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak against the Stars.

"The old linemates will be reunited: Stajan, [Glencross and Stempniak], three guys that have pretty good chemistry together. I'm expecting a big game out of those three guys," Flames coach Bob Hartley said after the morning skate.

With Stajan back on the ice, Sven Baertschi likely will be scratched. Calgary captain Mark Giordano, who missed a 4-2 loss at the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday with an undisclosed injury, again will be a game-time decision.

"He's going to be a game-time decision again [Thursday]. I can't say more right now," Hartley said.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stuart in for Sharks, Nichushkin back for Stars

DALLAS -- When the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars hit the ice at American Airlines Center on Thursday for the first of three meetings this season, each team will do so with several changes to their lineup.

For the Sharks, who at 6-0-0 are one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the NHL along with the Colorado Avalanche, it means Brad Stuart will slide into Dan Boyle's spot on the blue line alongside Matt Irwin.

Stuart, who hasn't played since Oct. 8 against the New York Rangers, has finished serving a three-game suspension for delivering an illegal hit to the head of New York's Rick Nash in that game. He replaces Boyle, who sustained an upper-body injury in the first period of a 6-2 road win against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday after St. Louis' Maxim Lapierre checked him into the boards from behind.

"We would love to have Dan. He means so much to our group, but he's not available and we feel good about [Stuart] going in," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Brad needs to play. He's only played one game in the last three or four weeks and he needs the ice time. He needs to get his game going and [we] feel good about playing him."


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Posted On Saturday, 10.05.2013 / 1:13 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Peverley set for Stars debut

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are still looking to get new head coach Lindy Ruff his first win behind their bench. And in Saturday's game with the Washington Capitals at American Airlines Center, the Stars will see Rich Peverley for the first time in a Dallas uniform.

Peverley, 31, was acquired in the July 4 trade with the Boston Bruins that sent Loui Eriksson and two others to Boston for Peverley, Tyler Seguin and defenseman Ryan Button. However, the veteran center was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat before the start of training camp and missed the entire preseason before returning to full practice for the first time Friday morning.

On Saturday, he will debut on the Stars' fourth line alongside Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt, and he couldn't be happier to finally be back in the mix with his new club.

"It will be good to be a part of the gameday preparations, just kind of get in a routine again and be a part of this locker room,"Peverley said Saturday morning.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 1:48 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Projected lineups for Panthers, Stars

DALLAS -- There will be a number of notable debuts on both sides as the Florida Panthers visit the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Florida will have Tim Thomas in net; it will be the first regular-season NHL game for the 39-year-old two-time Vezina Trophy winner since April 7, 2012.

Thomas was a member of the Boston Bruins then, and his team played the Buffalo Sabres, who at the time were coached by Lindy Ruff. Thomas will see Ruff again as the coach makes his regular-season debut behind the bench with the Dallas Stars.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 1:27 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Red Wings trying to lock up playoff spot in Dallas

DALLAS -- The Detroit Red Wings enter the final game of the regular season Saturday with a simple goal: Beat the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center and secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 22nd straight season.

Detroit (23-16-8, 54 points), which has won three straight and is 6-3-3 in April, sits seventh in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who are eighth at 53 points.

The Stars were eliminated from postseason contention for a fifth straight season when the Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators, 5-2 on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena. And even though Dallas has little other than pride to play for, the approach remains the same for Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

"Well, you just play hard, get prepared and win a game. That’s what we have to do here," Babcock said. "I don’t think we need to worry about anything else, just focus on the process like we talk about each and every game, have some urgency about us, make sure we start on time and we let the structure of the game protect us by being in good spots and being patient."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blue Jackets need to reverse recent history in Dallas

DALLAS -- The numbers are definitely not pretty for the Columbus Blue Jackets when it comes to facing the Dallas Stars. All time, Dallas is 31-10-5 against Columbus, including a 15-5-2 at home with all but two of those meetings at American Airlines Center.

However, when these Western Conference foes square off Thursday night here, the result could be a bit different because these teams are heading in different directions. The Blue Jackets, who are ninth in the West with 51 points, one behind the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings, have won six of their past seven games. Dallas, 10th with 48 points, is hanging on for dear life and could be eliminated if Detroit earns a point on Thursday against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena.

Columbus coach Todd Richards said how well his club starts could determine the outcome.

"Starts are important. We’ve stressed that for a long time now. Our last 14 games, we haven’t been down by more than one goal in any of those games in the first period and a lot of times we’ve had leads," Richards said. "So, it’s important to get your legs underneath you, especially this time of year. Every shift is critical. You never know when the big play of the game is going to happen. The difference-maker might be in the first period and we’ve approached that, credit to the players who have come out and played hard from the drop of the puck."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:45 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lehtonen's return 'huge' for Stars' playoff hopes

DALLAS -- Richard Bachman filled in admirably between the pipes for the Dallas Stars after a groin injury to starter Kari Lehtonen in the first period of a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on April 9 forced him to leave the ice five minutes before the first intermission.

Bachman went 3-1-0 during that stretch with a 1.88 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. However, Lehtonen is now healthy and will return to the net for Dallas on Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center.

Anytime a player many in the Stars room call their team MVP returns, it's definitely a good thing.

"It's huge," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "I think [Bachman] played unbelievable. Played three great games, but for sure, Kari has been our MVP so far this year in my mind. He's been very good. He's won some games for us. When you get a goalie like that back in the net, for sure you get a little boost."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.13.2013 / 2:24 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Stars

DALLAS -- It’s been six days since the San Jose Sharks and the Dallas Stars last met with Dallas prevailing 5-4 in a shootout at HP Pavilion last Sunday.

Dallas has now won four straight games, and Sharks coach Todd McLellan is impressed with how well Glen Gulutzan’s club has performed during their current streak.

"Well, they’re working hard, they’re a fast team. I don’t know if a lot of people realize they’re No. 10 in offense in the league," McLellan said. "And they have played very free, very loose, excited. Now they’re into a stretch where there’s probably going to be some pressure, so they’ll have to deal with that. But they’re a hard-working team that gets it done five-on-five."

But it’s not like San Jose, who is 8-1-1 in their past 10 games, is exactly struggling, a run which Sharks wing Adam Burish chalks up to some fairly simple things he and his teammates have been doing well.

"I think we’re playing with a little more depth. Everybody’s going now, everybody’s contributing. We’re sustaining momentum in games, but I think too we’re playing with confidence," Burish said. "We’re playing a little simpler too. This team, with all the skill we have, we tend to want to make cute plays and pretty plays. We’re just playing simpler now, more straight ahead, more direct and then you mix that in with continuing to gain confidence you’re going to play better."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.09.2013 / 2:03 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penner returning to lineup as Kings visit Stars

DALLAS -- After missing the past four games with a lower-body injury, Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Penner will return to the ice Tuesday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he's glad to see Penner make his return against Dallas.

"His last shift was in this building. Hopefully he still remembers that," Sutter said.

Penner, who last played March 31 against the Stars, figures to skate on the Kings' second line, alongside center Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, which will knock Kyle Clifford, who had been filling in, to the fourth line.

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Posted On Monday, 04.01.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Stars, Ducks begin three-game mini-series

DALLAS -- Monday's contest will mark the first of three straight games for the Dallas Stars against the Anaheim Ducks. Dallas will face the Ducks at Honda Center on both Wednesday and Friday.

Here are the projected lineups for Monday night's game:

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Posted On Sunday, 03.31.2013 / 12:26 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Kings, Stars

DALLAS - Here are the projected lineups for Sunday afternoon’s game between the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

KINGS

Dustin BrownAnze KopitarJustin Williams

Dwight KingJarret StollTrevor Lewis

Mike RichardsTyler ToffoliJeff Carter

Kyle CliffordColin FraserJordan Nolan

Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty

Rob ScuderiSlava Voynov

Keaton EllerbyAlec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Davis Drewiske, Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson.

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Willie Mitchell (knee).

Notes: Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter did not speak to the press after Saturday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild. So it’s unclear whether he goes with Jonathan Quick or Jonathan Bernier in net on Sunday against the Dallas Stars.

STARS

Eric NystromJamie BennJaromir Jagr

Ray WhitneyDerek RoyLoui Eriksson

Reilly SmithCody EakinErik Cole

Toby Petersen - Antoine Roussel - Tomas Vincour

Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas

Alex GoligoskiTrevor Daley

Aaron RomePhilip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen

Richard Bachman

Scratched: Jordie Benn.

Injured: Vernon Fiddler (charley horse), Ryan Garbutt (hand).

Notes: Fourth-line center Vernon Fiddler is day-to-day after leaving Friday’s 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild in the first period after crashing into a goalpost. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan termed Fiddler’s injury a charley horse after the game. He did not practice on Saturday.

With Fiddler’s status uncertain for Sunday’s game with the Los Angeles Kings, Dallas recalled wing Toby Petersen from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Saturday. Petersen spent all of last season in the NHL and had 23 points (7-16-23) in 65 games in the AHL this season. He skated on the left side of the Stars’ fourth line in practice on Saturday, with Antoine Roussel at center and Tomas Vincour on the right side.

Center Ryan Garbutt, who has missed the past seven games with a hand injury, skated again on Saturday but Gulutzan said he’s still a few days away from returning. That likely means Garbutt will travel with the Stars on their three-game road trip that will see them face the Anaheim Ducks in consecutive games before ending the trek against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday at HP Pavilion.

Kari Lehtonen will make a 14th straight start in goal for Dallas.

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Posted On Friday, 03.29.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wild giving Hackett first start of season vs. Stars

DALLAS -- After starting Niklas Backstrom in goal for the past 12 games, a stretch in which the Minnesota Wild have gone 10-2-0, coach Mike Yeo decided to keep his No. 1 goaltender back in the Twin Cities. That means Matt Hackett will make his first start of the season Friday night against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Hackett, who was recalled from Houston of the American Hockey League on Thursday, has yet to appear in an NHL game this season, but was 3-6-0 with a 2.37 goals-against average in 12 games with Minnesota last season.

“All I’m hoping to see is what he came up and did last year. He played very good hockey for us last year and we’ve seen him do that both at this level and the American Hockey League,” Yeo said. “We’re anxious to get him in a game. We’re anxious to see him play and prove what he can do.”

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Posted On Monday, 03.25.2013 / 2:14 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Stars set to start post-Morrow era against Wild

DALLAS -- The Minnesota Wild enter Dallas for Monday night's game having won five in a row to run their record to 8-3-2 in March.

On Sunday, the Wild recalled center Jake Dowell, who played 52 games for Dallas last season, and goaltender Darcy Kuemper from Houston of the American Hockey League. Wing Jason Zucker and goaltender Matt Hackett headed to the AHL for the Wild.

The Stars, meanwhile, will be playing their first game without captain Brenden Morrow, traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday for defenseman Joe Morrow and a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. Morrow had been their longest-tenured player, being with the club for the last 14 seasons.

The Stars kicked off a season-long five-game homestand on Saturday night by beating the Colorado Avalanche, 5-2 at American Airlines Center. Stars coach Glen Gulutzan shuffled his lines a bit, putting Eric Nystrom on his top line alongside Jamie Benn and Jaromir Jagr and it worked. Nystrom had a goal and an assist, Benn turned in a three-point performance and Jagr added a goal and an assist.

Here are the projected lineups for Monday night's game between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.


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Posted On Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 2:40 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Stars set to begin critical homestand

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan is well aware of his club's 6-6-2 record at home, a mark which ranks as the worst in the Western Conference. However, as Dallas begins a season-long five-game homestand Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center, he and his players are focused on the task at hand, winning game one and moving on to the next one.

"That's irrelevant to us," Gulutzan said when asked about the importance of the homestand. "It's tonight, this game. Confident we can win on the road, just got to win this game."

Dallas is almost completely healthy, missing only defenseman Aaron Rome (foot), who has missed the past 12 games, and forward Ryan Garbutt (hand), who will miss his fifth straight game Saturday.

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Posted On Monday, 03.18.2013 / 1:31 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Healthy Stars look to salvage finale of homestand

DALLAS -- After a highly disappointing 8-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in front of a sellout crowd at American Airlines Center on Saturday, the Dallas Stars return to the ice against the Calgary Flames on Monday.

The Stars are 0-2-0 against the Flames this season, having lost to them 7-4 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Feb. 13 and then falling 4-3 at home four days later. Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan has a formula for salvaging the final contest in a four-game homestand, a stretch in which the Stars are 0-2-1 and have been outscored 14-2.

"I think consistency [is the key]," Gulutzan said. "I think playing a 60-minute hockey game [is key]. I know that sounds redundant, but if it's 1-1, 0-0 after two, that's fine. We've just got to play 60 minutes."

The Stars enter this game almost completely healthy. Fourth-line wing Ryan Garbutt will miss a second straight game with a hand injury and veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas was absent from the morning skate, but for good reason.

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Posted On Monday, 03.18.2013 / 12:56 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flames, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Monday night's game between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

FLAMES

Michael CammalleriAlex TanguayJarome Iginla

Curtis GlencrossMatt StajanLee Stempniak

Jiri HudlerRoman CervenkaBlake Comeau

Tim JackmanSteve BeginBrian McGrattan

Mark GiordanoDennis Wideman

TJ BrodieJay Bouwmeester

Chris ButlerDerek Smith

Joey MacDonald

Daniel Taylor


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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks, Stars both missing key players

DALLAS -- When the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars hit the ice at American Airlines Center on Thursday, both clubs will be without key players.

Anaheim will be without its second-leading scorer, Corey Perry, as he begins serving a four-game suspension for an illegal check on the Minnesota Wild's Jason Zucker in a 2-1 win at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

"Yeah, four games are a lot. What are we going to do?" Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "There's nothing I can do. It's done with and I don't think Brendan [Shanahan, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety] is going to phone us and say, 'Geez, you guys are good guys. We're going to make it two [games],' so we just have to drop it and go without him for four games."

Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan, whose team will be without top-line center Jamie Benn (wrist) and captain Brenden Morrow (groin) for a second straight game, took a tongue-in-cheek approach when discussing Perry's absence from the Anaheim lineup.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 1:12 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Stars, Ducks

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

DUCKS

Bobby RyanRyan GetzlafTeemu Selanne

Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuDaniel Winnik

Matt BeleskeyBrandon McMillanEmerson Etem

Patrick MaroonPeter HollandKyle Palmieri

Sheldon SourayFrancois Beauchemin

Bryan AllenCam Fowler

Luca Sbisa- Toni Lydman

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Ben Lovejoy.

Injured: Nick Bonino (lower body), Corey Perry (suspended), Brad Staubitz (facial cut).


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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Whitney in for Stars; Benn, Morrow likely out

DALLAS -- After missing 16 games with a broken bone in his foot, Ray Whitney will return to the ice for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center. It will be Whitney's first game since Feb. 1 against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"It [the process] has been long. It's the first time I've had a broken bone, so it's been longer than expected, but I've had enough of riding the bike," Whitney said. "I'm excited to get back on the ice and see if we can't get a good push here in the last half."

However, the news isn't quite as favorable when it comes to Dallas center Jamie Benn (wrist) and captain Brenden Morrow (groin), both of whom are unlikely to play against the Predators.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 12:41 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Predators, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night's game between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

PREDATORS

Bobby ButlerMartin EratCraig Smith

Nick SpalingMike FisherZach Boychuk

Gabriel BourqueDavid LegwandBrandon Yip

Sergei KostitsynPaul GaustadRich Clune

Kevin KleinVictor Bartley

Shea WeberRoman Josi

Ryan EllisScott Hannan

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason


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Posted On Sunday, 03.03.2013 / 10:28 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Sunday's game between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

BLUES

Jaden Schwartz - T.J. Oshie - David Backes

Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart - David Perron

Vladimir Sobotka - Matt D'Agostini - Chris Porter

Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves - Adam Cracknell

Barret Jackman - Alex Pietrangelo

Wade Redden - Kevin Shattenkirk

Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Ian Cole, Andrew Murray

Injured: Jamie Langenbrunner (hip), Andy McDonald (left knee), Alex Steen (upper body), Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion)

Notes: The St. Louis Blues are 6-2-1 on the road so far this season. Among their six road wins is a 4-3 victory at Dallas on Jan. 26. David Perron found the back of the Stars' net twice in that win. Sunday's game marks the start of a five-game road trip for St. Louis. In Friday's 4-2 comeback win against the Edmonton Oilers, coach Ken Hitchcock plugged rookie Jaden Schwartz into his top line alongside T.J. Oshie and David Backes and it paid dividends as Schwartz had a goal and an assist in the victory. Brian Elliott gets the nod in goal against the Stars on Sunday in what will be his first start since Feb. 11 against the Los Angeles Kings. Elliott is winless in his previous five games (0-4-1).

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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 2:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lehtonen returns for Stars; Oilers get Hall back

DALLAS -- When the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars hit the ice Thursday night at American Airlines Center, each team will have key members back in the fold.

Edmonton will have first-line wing Taylor Hall for the first time after he served a two-game suspension for kneeing Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild, and no one could be happier than Oilers coach Ralph Krueger.

"Well, he adds an amazing amount of pressure on the opposition's defense and on their defensive structure," Krueger said of Hall. "To have [Ryan Nugent-Hopkins], [Jordan Eberle] and [Hall] back together gives us a real weapon here. We're very pleased to have Taylor's speed and offensive pressure back."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 1:44 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Oilers, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night's game between the Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

OILERS

Taylor HallRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Ryan JonesSam GagnerAles Hemsky

Ryan SmythEric BelangerNail Yakupov

Ben EagerChris VandeveldeLennart Petrell

Jeff PetryLadislav Smid

Nick SchultzJustin Schultz

Corey PotterMark Fistric

Devan Dubnyk

Yann Danis

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Posted On Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 1:29 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Stars, Sharks meet with struggling power plays

DALLAS -- When the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars hit the ice Saturday night at American Airlines Center, the Pacific Division foes will square off with power-play units that are a combined 0-for-their-past-30.

Dallas is 0-for-12 with the man advantage over its past three games and heads into Saturday on a two-game losing streak. For Stars coach Glen Gulutzan, the way to remedy his club's is pretty simple.

"We need a shooter's mindset," Gulutzan said. "Shots cause confusion, and if you look at San Jose, they like to put a lot of shots on net and they have success in their power play. We need a lot of that mentality. We've got sometimes the pass-first mentality. We're going to put more pucks towards the net. We're going to work a lot harder."

The Sharks also have had their share of issues on the power play. San Jose is 0-for-18 over its past four games. In Feburary, San Jose is 2-for-39 with the extra attacker, a definite cause of concern for Sharks coach Todd McLellan, whose club has lost seven of its past eight.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.21.2013 / 2:08 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Canucks look to snap three-game skid in Dallas

DALLAS -- For a variety of reasons, the lineup Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault puts on the ice for Thursday night’s Western Conference game against the Dallas Stars will be different from previous games.

One reason for the shakeup is that the Canucks (8-3-4) will be without second-line wing Jannik Hansen. He received a one-game suspension from the League office for a blow to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa during a 4-3 overtime loss Tuesday at United Center.

To compensate for the loss of Hansen, Vigneault will move wing Zack Kassian, who earlier this year played on a line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, up to the second line alongside recently returned Ryan Kesler and wing Chris Higgins.

Vigneault also revamped his defensive pairings Wednesday, moving Jason Garrison to the third pairing alongside Keith Ballard, who previously played alongside Garrison with the Florida Panthers.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.21.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Stars refocus after opening homestand with loss

DALLAS -- After last Friday's 4-3 comeback win at the Vancouver Canucks, the Dallas Stars (8-7-1, 17 points) were riding high. Glen Gulutzan's club had taken two of three in a swing through Western Canada, and Dallas was now looking at the start of a three-game homestand Sunday against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center.

Dallas found another gear in that game; after trailing 1-0 at the first intermission it scored three unanswered. The Stars looked in control of the game with a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. However, Calgary countered with three unanswered of their own and left the Lone Star State with two points thanks to a 4-3 win.

Gulutzan gave his players Monday off, but in practice the past two days, he and his staff have focused on the Stars' attention to detail and on cleaning up the various issues that led to that defeat.

"Our guys practiced hard these last two days. I can tell you from a year-and-a-half of being here, the practices we've had in the last two weeks have been high-tempo, hard practices," Gulutzan said. "The guys have went and competed hard, but we do need to clean up those details. We had a chance in this little break to address some of those things, and now we have to put what we've learned and saw, tonight we have to do it in games."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.21.2013 / 12:51 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canucks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night's game between the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

CANUCKS

Daniel SedinHenrik SedinAlexandre Burrows

Chris HigginsRyan KeslerZack Kassian

David BoothJordan SchroederMason Raymond

Dale WeiseMaxim LapierreAaron Volpatti

Dan HamhuisKevin Bieksa

Alexander EdlerChristopher Tanev

Keith BallardJason Garrison

Cory Schneider

Roberto Luongo

Scratches: Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker

Injuries: Jannik Hansen (suspension), Manny Malhotra (eye)

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Posted On Sunday, 02.17.2013 / 12:58 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Stars looking forward to home cooking

DALLAS -- After playing on the road 10 times in their first 15 games, the Dallas Stars (8-6-1, 17 points) are now looking forward to the start of a three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon against the Calgary Flames (4-5-3, 11 points) at American Airlines Center. The contest Sunday also marks the start of a stretch where Dallas will play nine of their next 13 games on home ice.

"We're kind of looking at this as a road game, as a quick turnaround. We're traveling, we're back home and we play early," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We have a day off tomorrow but that's tomorrow so today we've got a good work day ahead of us."

Dallas is 3-1-1 at home this season but heads into Sunday just two days removed from a 4-3 comeback win at Vancouver, a solid ending to a three-game swing through Western Canada that saw the Stars take two out of three.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.17.2013 / 12:00 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flames, Stars

DALLAS - Here are the projected lineups for a Sunday afternoon game between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

FLAMES

Curtis GlencrossBlake ComeauJarome Iginla

Roman CervenkaAlex TanguayJiri Hudler

Michael CammalleriMatt StajanLee Stempniak

Tim JackmanSteve BeginRoman Horak

Mark GiordanoJay Bouwmeester

T.J. Brodie – Dennis Wideman

Chris ButlerAnton Babchuk

Joey McDonald

Danny Taylor

Scratches: Blair Jones, Cory Sarich, Derek Smith.

Injuries: Mikael Backlund (knee), Sven Baertschi (hip flexor), Paul Byron (hand), Miikka Kiprusoff (knee).

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Posted On Friday, 02.08.2013 / 2:18 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for the game Friday night between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

DUCKS

Emerson EtemRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Kyle PalmieriBobby RyanTeemu Selanne

Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuDaniel Winnik

Matt BeleskeyNick Bonino - Brad Staubitz

Francois Beauchemin - Sheldon Souray

Luca Sbisa - Toni Lydman

Bryan AllenBen Lovejoy

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Scratches: Jordan Hendry, Rickard Rakell, Sami Vatanen

Injuries: Cam Fowler (upper body)

Notes: Anaheim is 3-0-1 on the road. The Ducks went just 1-5-0 in their six games against the Stars last season. Defenseman Sheldon Souray, who spent last season in Dallas, has four goals for Anaheim early on. Fellow defenseman Ben Lovejoy, acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh earlier in the week, figures to make his debut for the Ducks on Friday night in Dallas.

STARS

Brenden MorrowJamie BennJaromir Jagr

Loui ErikssonDerek Roy - Michael Ryder

Reilly SmithCody EakinTomas Vincour

Eric NystromVernon FiddlerAntoine Roussel

Brenden Dillon - Stephane Robidas

Aaron RomeTrevor Daley

Jamie OleksiakAlex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen

Richard Bachman

Scratches: Ryan Garbutt, Philip Larsen, Tom Wandell.

Injuries: Ray Whitney (foot).

Notes: The Stars head into this Pacific Division tilt on a two-game winning streak, their most recent win coming on Wednesday night in Edmonton (3-2). Center Jamie Benn has five points (3-2-5) in the Stars’ last two games. After Friday, Dallas won’t play at home again until Sunday, Feb. 17 when the Stars play host to the Flames at American Airlines Center.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 1:09 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for the Saturday night contest between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

BLUES

David PerronDavid BackesT.J. Oshie

Andy McDonaldAlexander SteenVladimir Tarasenko

Jayden Schwartz – Patrik BerglundChris Stewart

Vladimir SobotkaScott NicholRyan Reaves

Wade ReddenAlex Pietrangelo

Barret JackmanKevin Shattenkirk

Kris RussellRoman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Injuries: none

Scratches: Ian Cole, Matt D’Agostini, Jamie Langenbrunner.

NOTES: St. Louis has posted shutouts in two of its first four games, including a 4-0 blanking of Nashville at Scottrade Center on Thursday. Wade Redden made his Blues debut against the Predators, seeing 17:23 of ice time in his first NHL action since 2010. Heading into the contest Saturday, St. Louis has the NHL’s second-ranked power play, converting at a rate of 53.8 percent (7 of 13) and is tied for second in the League with seven power-play goals. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was behind the Dallas bench between 1996 and 2002, leading the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup. RW Jamie Langenbrunner has spent two stints in Dallas, the first from 1994 through 2002 and the latter coming in 2011 when he skated in 39 games after coming over prior to the trade deadline.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Derek RoyReilly Smith

Ray WhitneyCody Eakin - Michael Ryder

Brenden Morrow - Vernon Fiddler - Eric Nystrom

Ryan GarbuttTom WandellColton Sceviour

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas

Aaron Rome - Trevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - Philip Larsen

Christopher Nilstorp

Kari Lehtonen

Scratches: Jordie Benn, Tomas Vincour.

Injuries: Jamie Benn (signed contract Thursday), Jaromir Jagr (back), Kari Lehtonen (undisclosed "tweak").

NOTES: This concludes a short, two-game homestand for Dallas, who lost 3-2 to Chicago in overtime on Thursday night. Through their first four games, the Stars have been on the power play six fewer times than their opposition. Dallas put the Blackhawks on the PP seven times in the OT loss with Chicago converting on three of those opportunities. Rookie goaltender Christopher Nilstorp gets his second NHL start against the Blues. Nilstorp was also between the pipes for Dallas in a 1-0 loss Sunday at Minnesota and stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced from the Wild.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 3:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jagr misses practice, day-to-day with stiff back

FRISCO, Texas -- After leaving the ice late in the third period of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night, Dallas Stars wing Jaromir Jagr missed practice Friday, putting his status in doubt for Saturday's game with the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center.

"Yeah, he'll probably be day-to-day. [His] lower back today is a little stiff," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said after practice. "So we'll see how he is in the next couple days. But he knows himself better than we do and he's stiff in his lower back today, hip."

Jagr had two goals and two assists in his Dallas debut last Saturday in a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, his first four-point game since 2007. However, the 41-year-old wing hasn't registered a point since that victory. He had been playing right wing on Dallas' top line alongside Loui Eriksson and center Derek Roy.

The Stars conclude a quick two-game homestand on Saturday night against the Blues, and Gulutzan isn't quite ready to rule Jagr out for that game.

"We'll see what he’s like tomorrow. Right now, I would have to say it's 60/40 no, I would say right now, or maybe even more. But we'll see how he is in the morning and we'll re-evaluate," Gulutzan said. "So you never know. He's a fit guy and he knows what he can and cannot do. So we'll wait and see how Jags is tomorrow."

Jagr, who wasn't at the team's practice facility and thus did not speak to the media, wasn't the only Stars player to miss practice Friday. Fellow newcomers Roy and Ray Whitney also missed the session at the team's Frisco headquarters with what Gulutzan termed as a maintenance day for both players. The Stars coach said Roy and Whitney should be ready to go against St. Louis.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 2:03 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blackhawks pleased with balanced, prolific start

DALLAS -- There’s no doubt things are going well for the Chicago Blackhawks as Joel Quenneville’s club is off to a 3-0 start, their best since 1972-73 when the Blackhawks began that season with four straight victories.

"Yeah, it [our start] is huge, but we can’t look at it too much," wing Patrick Kane said. "It's only been three games. We've had a good start. Right now I think the biggest question for us is can we keep it up? We feel we've got the team in here that can do it."

The Blackhawks have erased all but one opposing power play so far this season, making their penalty kill tied for third-best in the NHL at 90 percent. But maybe the biggest story for Chicago through three games has been their incredible offensive balance.

Defenseman Nick Leddy is tied for the team lead in assists with three, and blueliners Johnny Oduya and Michael Rozsival are right behind him with two helpers each. Chicago is getting contributions from the usual suspects Kane (two goals, three assists), Marian Hossa (four goals, one assist) Patrick Sharp (one goal, two assists), Jonathan Toews (one goal, two assists) but it’s the offensive balance his club has displayed thus far that has their coach especially pleased.

“We’re getting good contributions across the board. When your best players are your best players, you’re usually going to be OK,” Quenneville said. “But we like the contribution we’re getting across the board right now and I think the balance in our four lines is helping as well.”

The Blackhawks are pleased to start the season 3-0 but that optimism is tempered a bit in knowing that they are only three games into a truncated 48-game season.

“Yeah, it’s still pretty early but it’s nice to win the three games and I think they guys are skating fast, playing at a high pace and that’s impressive because not a lot of us played during the lockout,” Sharp said. “It’s a short season. You want to get in and gather as many points as you can and so far so good.”

And no one is tempering his team’s optimism or expectations more than the man behind the Chicago bench.

“Every game’s meaningful. It seems like it’s a playoff race already. The intensity is amazing,” Quenneville said. “Dallas is working hard here. They play a nice, simple team strong game. Let’s be respectful of what they do, but we’ve got to make sure we keep getting better as we go along here and not be satisfied with what happened.”

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:09 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Eakin proving a solid addition for Stars

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars acquired Cody Eakin in a trade with the Washington Capitals on draft night for Mike Ribeiro, the general consensus was that the young center who appeared in 30 games for the Capitals as a rookie would center the Stars' fourth line this season.

And through Dallas' first two games, that's exactly where the 21-year-old skated for Stars second-year coach Glen Gulutzan, on the fourth line alongside Ryan Garbutt and Reilly Smith.

But before Tuesday's game at the Detroit Red Wings, Gulutzan informed Eakin he was flipping him and Tom Wandell, who had been centering Dallas' second line in the first two games. And in short, it was a move that paid off as Eakin assisted on both Stars goals, which were scored by Michael Ryder, in a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

"I wasn't really expecting it, but come game time it was nice to see that. I just keep playing the way I play -- get them the puck, create energy, be the first one on the forecheck, get them the puck," Eakin said of playing alongside Ryder and veteran Ray Whitney. "A couple of times they turned a little bit of nothing into something. It was a great opportunity for me. Hopefully I continue to work hard and stay on that line for a while.”

Of course, the man who made the call to put him on the second line couldn't be happier with how his decision turned out and plans to keep him alongside Ryder and Whitney for the time being.

"He's got great speed. He's got some grit. He plays the game hard and he has some offensive ability. He can think the game and he plays on both sides," Gulutzan said. "He's just got to get experience. The more experience he gets, the better player he'll become. Now it's not just about one time, it's about keeping that moving forward and being consistent. He was in the American (Hockey) League. He's just got to be that at this level."

As one of a number of young Stars players who played for the club's AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, during the lockout, Eakin, who had 24 points (12 goals) in 35 games in the AHL, definitely hit the ground running for the start of training camp and hasn't looked back.

"Yeah, I think it was definitely nice to be playing. I think it'd be a little tougher coming off not playing like a lot of the guys have. Last year, too, helped me a lot with not being shell-shocked or a little caught off guard with how fast it is," he said. "Obviously there's a lot of room to improve. I don't think I've reached my goal yet of having a really, really good game yet. I think the legs are there from playing so many games. It's going to be a busy stretch, just got to make sure I'm ready to go."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Stars, Blackhawks

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Patrick SharpDave BollandPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellAndrew ShawViktor Stalberg

Brandon BolligMarcus KrugerMichael Frolik

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson

Nick LeddyMichal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Injuries: Daniel Carcillo (lower body), Steve Montador (upper body)

Scratches: Sheldon Brookbank, Jamal Mayers

Notes: Chicago, which beat St. Louis 3-2 in its-home opener on Tuesday at United Center, is 3-0-0 to start the season for the first time since 1972-73. Through their first three games, the Hawks have killed off 90 percent of opposing power plays, allowing just one power-play goal, tying them for the second-best PK in the League. Chicago is 2-0-0 on the road so far this season. The Hawks and Stars split their four meetings last season with each team winning once at home and once on the road. Seabrook currently leads the league in blocked shots with 13.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Derek Roy - Jaromir Jagr

Ray WhitneyCody Eakin - Michael Ryder

Brenden Morrow - Vernon Fiddler - Eric Nystrom

Ryan GarbuttTom Wandell - Reilly Smith

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas

Jordie Benn - Trevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen

Christopher Nilstrop

Scratches: Colton Sceviour

Injuries: Aaron Rome (groin)

Notes: Dallas split the two games on its first road trip of the season, losing at Minnesota on Sunday but prevailing 2-1 in Detroit on Tuesday. The Stars did not practice on Wednesday since mechanical issues with the team's plane forced them to spend Tuesday night in the Motor City. They did not arrive back in Dallas until Wednesday evening. Stars second-year head coach Glen Gulutzan flipped Eakin, who had been centering Dallas' fourth line, with Wandell, who had been skating on the second line, against the Red Wings and the move paid off as Eakin assisted on both Stars goals, which were scored by Ryder, who led Dallas with 35 goals last season.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:45 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Veteran Stars eager to end playoff drought

DALLAS -- After trading Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro this offseason, there are just four current members of the Dallas Stars who were with the club the last time they made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2008, when Dallas finished fifth in the Western Conference and reached the conference finals.

The group consists of defenseman Trevor Daley, forward Loui Eriksson, captain Brenden Morrow and veteran blueliner Stephane Robidas. Since losing to the Detroit Red Wings in six games in the 2008 Western Conference Finals, Dallas has missed the playoffs four straight seasons and it's a trend this group would not like to see continue this year, the franchise’s 20th in Dallas.

“It’s been a long time, obviously too long. The time’s now to get it done,” Daley said. “There’s no excuses this year. We’ve got a good group and this should be a playoff team.”

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Posted On Saturday, 01.19.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-13 Opening Day blog

Projected Lineups: Coyotes at Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Saturday night’s game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

COYOTES

Steve Sullivan-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata

Mikkel Boedkker-Matthew Lombardi-Shane Doan

Lauri Korpikoski-Antoine Vermette-David Moss

Paul Bissonnette-Boyd Gordon-Kyle Chipchura

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Zybnek Michalek

Keith Yandle-Derek Morris

Rotislav Klesla-David Schlemko

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Injuries: Raffi Torres (suspension).

Scratches: Alex Bolduc, David Rundblad.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 1:56 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Sharks anticipate better effort from Stars in rematch

DALLAS -- On Saturday night, the San Jose Sharks dispatched the Dallas Sharks at HP Pavilion, blanking them 3-0, a game where Dallas was clearly feeling the effects of being on the second night of a back-to-back.

These Pacific Division rivals meet for a sixth and final time this regular season on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center, and while Sharks coach Todd McLellan would like to see an effort from his club similar to what they delivered just three days ago in the Bay Area, he also knows they will see a different Stars team this time around.

"I think we'll see a better effort on their behalf," McLellan said. "They won't be playing back-to-back. They won't be at the back end of a four-game road trip. They've had two days off. Think they'll get some healthy people back into the lineup. That should just make us elevate our game a little bit more as well.

"I liked our game in San Jose. I liked a lot of the things that we did. We have to take it to another level now in this building and be fully prepared to play."

San Jose (40-29-10, 90 points) has taken four of five meetings from Dallas this season, with the lone exception being a 4-3 shootout loss during its last trip to the Lone Star State back on March 8.

And there's no escaping that the Sharks seem to be one team the Stars have more than a little trouble matching up with on the ice.

"It's just those types of games where they've got players who get under your skin and I think they fire us up," San Jose center Logan Couture said. "I think we rise to the occasion. They're obviously a good team. We enjoy playing against them."

The Sharks currently sit eighth in the Western Conference standings with 90 points, just one point ahead of the Stars, who are currently ninth with 89. The Avalanche are one point behind Dallas in 10th with 88 points, which makes Tuesday's game even more crucial.

"We're sitting in eighth place and it's going to be a battle down to the end. Treat this like a playoff game, so it's a big one tonight," Couture said.

Of course, it might sound cliché to say treating their final three games all like playoff games is an absolute no-brainer, but that's exactly how San Jose is treating the final week of the regular season.

"We've passed the first test. If we're looking at a four-game series to finish the year to get into the playoffs, we've passed the first test with some pretty good results," McLellan said. "Now we're out on the road. We'll find out a little bit about ourselves tonight here in a hostile environment with some pressure that's put on us based on where we are in the standings."

San Jose is now almost completely healthy. Defenseman Douglas Murray, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, did skate on Tuesday morning, but according to McLellan is a game-time decision.



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Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 1:30 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars know exactly what's at stake against Sharks

DALLAS -- Just three days after losing 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion, the Dallas Stars get another crack at their Pacific Division rivals, this time Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

And with the Stars (42-32-5, 89 points) currently sitting ninth in the Western Conference standings with just three games remaining, there's no doubt how huge this game is if they are to have any chance of ending a three-year playoff drought.

"Yeah, we've talked about that a lot here the last couple days," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We control our own fate, is what we worked for, and the other thing is the conditions are good. We're not back-to-back or coming in late. We're at home with a practice, a day off and a morning skate. The conditions are what you want this time of year to have success."

Dallas is 4-6-0 over its last 10 games, including a 1-3-0 record on a recently-concluded road trip that took the Stars through Western Canada before ending in San Jose on Saturday night.

On the plus side, the Stars figure to get back third-line winger Eric Nystrom, who missed the last three games after suffering a cut on his leg in a 5-4 loss at Calgary on March 26.

"Nystrom went through a full practice. He's a full go," Gulutzan said.

Dallas may or may not have the services of veteran winger Radek Dvorak, who has missed the last four games with an ankle injury. Gulutzan termed him as a game-time decision.

"I know Devo's chomping at the bit to go. He's a pro and he's a hungry pro," Gulutzan said. "He takes care of himself and he’s been waiting for an opportunity. We've got to make a decision based more on health than anything."

Other that getting Nystrom back, it looks like the Stars will also have a capacity crowd for this crucial game with the Sharks. And after returning from a road trip that can at best be labled as disappointing, seeing a full house will be a welcome sight for the Dallas players.

"It'll be nice. Last game you look at their crowd [in San Jose] can get into it and it's definitely an advantage. That team over there is a different team on the road than when they're at home," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "I think that's something we kind of want to establish here. We want to be extremely tough to beat at home and a big crowd will amp it up. It's obviously an important game as it is, so it'll just make it even that much more fun."

In Saturday's 3-0 loss at San Jose, the Stars did outhit the Sharks 42-17 -- and while that statistic can be a bit misleading, Dallas does want to bring a similar level of physicality to its sixth and final meeting of the regular season with their division rival.

"We want to be physical against them," Stars winger Adam Burish. "I think that just goes with the energy -- the way you play, the way you get on pucks, the way we forecheck. They do such a good job with the way they come out of their zone. We're going to have to be more physical, which means getting two guys on the puck."

But no matter how he and his teammates look at it, Tuesday night's game is a definite must-win.

"If you want to control it and tell yourself that you're going to have a realistic chance of making the playoffs, you have to win tonight," Burish said. "That's the way I'm kind of approaching it. This is one that you've got to have."
   
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 1:28 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night's game between the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

SHARKS
Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryan Clowe - Logan Couture - Martin Havlat
T.J. Galiardi - Dominic Moore - Torrey Mitchell
Daniel Winnik - Andrew Desjardins - Tommy Wingels

Dan Boyle - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Brent Burns - Jason Demers
Justin Braun - Colin White

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Injuries: Douglas Murray (undisclosed)

Scratches: Benn Ferreiro, Michal Handzus, Jim Vandermeer, Brad Winchester

Notes: Not only are the Sharks seeing their second victory over the Stars in a span of three days, but San Jose is also looking to avenge a 4-3 shootout loss during its last trip to American Airlines Center back on March 8. However, the stakes are much higher for this sixth and final meeting between these Pacific Division rivals. A win by San Jose and it takes a major step toward securing a playoff berth -- and in the process, the Sharks could deal a near-fatal blow to any postseason aspirations on the part of the Stars. Saturday's game was a physical affair and this one figures to be no different.

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Tomas Vincour
Brenden Morrow - Jake Dowell - Ryan Garbutt

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Injuries: Radek Dvorak (ankle), Eric Nystrom (leg)

Scratches: Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen, Reilly Smith, Tom Wandell

Notes: The Stars head into Tuesday's meeting with the Sharks on the outside looking in as far as the Western Conference playoff race. Saturday's 3-0 loss at San Jose knocked them to ninth, which makes the sixth and final meeting between these Pacific Division rivals crucial for both clubs. It looks like Nystrom will be ready to return. He suffered a cut on his leg during Dallas' recently-concluded four-game road trip, while fellow third-liner Dvorak, who is battling an ankle issue, was called a game-time decision by Stars coach Glen Gulutzan after practice on Monday. Saturday's loss at HP Pavilion marked the first time the Stars hadn't scored at least one goal in 34 games. Dallas had last been shut out on Jan. 16 when it fell 1-0 to the Blues in St. Louis.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 10:45 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flames, desperate for two points, travel to Dallas

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for the game Saturday between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

FLAMES

Alex Tanguay - Matt Stajan - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Lee Stempniak - Blair Jones - Blake Comeau
Tom Kostopoulos - Lance Bouma - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Derek Smith - Anton Babchuk

Miikka Kiprusoff
Henrik Karlsson

Injuries: Mikael Backlund (shoulder), TJ Brodie (upper body), Michael Cammalleri (upper body), Cory Sarich (upper body).

Scratches: Roman Horak, Clay Wilson.

Notes:  Losers of four straight, including their last three games in extra time, it’s no big secret the Flames head to Dallas for an afternoon tilt in desperate need of two points. Calgary last played Thursday, dropping a 3-2 decision at Minnesota in overtime. For the season, they are 14-16-9 on the road and 5-1-4 in their last 10 games. But if there’s anything to give the Flames hope, it’s that both of their first two meetings this season with the Stars have gone to the wire. Dallas won in overtime at American Airlines Center earlier this year and it took a shootout for the Stars to leave Calgary with two points when these clubs met at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames are currently 11th in the Western Conference standings with 83 points, but a regulation win today would tie them with Dallas, who currently sits in eighth.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Jamie Benn - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Jordie Benn, Ryan Garbutt, Toby Petersen. Tomas Vincour.

Injuries: Mark Fistric (abdominal strain).

Notes:  After putting together an 11-game point streak, the Stars have dropped three of their last four, including two of their first three games on their current homestand, which ends with the visit by the Flames. Dallas last played Thursday, losing 2-1 to the Canucks. Scoring goals has suddenly become an issue for the Stars as only once in their last six games have they scored more than twice in a game. That came Tuesday night in a 4-3 shootout win against the Coyotes. Dallas has beaten Calgary twice this season already, once in overtime at American Airlines Center and again in a shootout in Alberta.  Two Stars players have ties to the Flames. LW Eric Nystrom started his career in Calgary while D Adam Pardy spent the last few seasons there before signing with Dallas as a free agent last summer.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 1:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canucks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

CANUCKS
Mason Raymond - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - David Booth
Dale Weise - Samuel Pahlsson - Jannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra - Maxim Lapierre - Zack Kassian

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Andrew Alberts - Christopher Tanev

Cory Schneider
Roberto Luongo

Injuries: Keith Ballard (neck/concussion), Andrew Ebbett (collarbone), Daniel Sedin (head)

Scratches: Marc-Andre Gragnani, Aaron Rome

Notes: The Canucks head into Thursday’s game with the Stars after a 2-1 overtime loss in Chicago on Wednesday. That defeat could prove costly as Vancouver lost top-line winger Daniel Sedin after he took an elbow to the head in the first period against the Blackhawks. Sedin has been ruled out for tonight's game. Vancouver is just 3-5-2 over their last 10 games but is 22-11-5 on the road this season. The Canucks have also done fairly well in the second game of a back-to-back this season with a 4-4-0 mark in such contests. 

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Jamie Benn - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Injuries: Mark Fistric (abdominal strain)

Scratches: Jordie Benn, Ryan Garbutt, Toby Petersen. Tomas Vincour

Notes: Dallas heads into Thursday's game with the Canucks two days removed from a 4-3 shootout win over the Coyotes on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. The Stars got all three goals and every assist from their top line of Eriksson, Ribeiro and Ryder. Ryder had 2 goals in the win over Phoenix, giving him 32 for the season, a new career-high for the Newfoundland native. Dallas has already beaten the reigning Western Conference champions twice this season -- a 3-2 OT win on Feb. 26 in Dallas and a 5-2 victory on March 6 to end a perfect three-game swing through Western Canada in truly impressive fashion. Tonight's game is the third of a four-game homestand for Dallas.
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Posted On Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 1:48 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

With nine games left, Tippett likes Coyotes' position

DALLAS -- Tonight's game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center is a contest with high stakes. Not only is the lead in the Pacific Division on the line, but the winner could also begin making a serious push to establish itself as a legitimate playoff team in the Western Conference.

These teams last met on Feb. 4 in Dallas and it was the Coyotes who prevailed 4-1 in a game where 10 different Phoenix players registered at least a point, including four different goal scorers. Getting similar contributions from his entire roster is something coach Dave Tippett knows has been crucial to his club's success all season long.

"Yeah, that's how we have to play. We rely on everybody throughout our lineup to contribute both defensively and offensively," Tippett said. "Usually when we have a situation where we get contributions throughout the lineup, it obviously gives us a much better chance to win."

Phoenix last played on Sunday, beating the Oilers 3-2 in a shootout in Edmonton. Wingers Radim Vrbata and Taylor Pyatt both left that game early with undisclosed injuries. Tippett termed both as game-time decisions, but did say defenseman Adrian Aucoin will miss a third straight game with a lower-body injury.

The last time these division rivals squared off, the Coyotes were beginning a run in February that would see them go 11-0-1 for the month. March hasn't been quite so kind to Phoenix, as it currently sits at 3-5-2 for the month, but Tippett sees definite signs of a turnaround with several recent positive results.

"Well, we lost a couple of games to start the month there. We were banged up and lost a couple defensemen for two weeks and our top four guys really got run down. We got into some games where we got behind early and that's not the way to play when your team's run down," Tippett said. "Lately we've been playing better. We've gotten points in three of the last four games here, so it seems like we're getting back to finding ways to win again and finding ways to get points and that's the way you're going to have to be if you're going to get yourself a spot."

But his Coyotes will be facing a Stars team that has dropped two straight to Chicago and Winnipeg by a combined score of 9-3. These back-to-back losses came after Dallas put together an 11-game point streak that vaulted them to the Pacific Division lead and the third spot in the West standings.

Like the rest of his NHL counterparts whose teams are battling for a playoff spot, Tippett is well aware of how big tonight's game is both from a divisional as well as from a playoff standpoint.

"This [playoff race] is pretty good right here. The Pacific Division, that's as tight as it's going to get," Tippett said. "We always talk about there's two ways to make the playoffs -- win your division or top eight. I never envisioned them both being so close."
   

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 1:32 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Coyotes, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for today's game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

COYOTES
Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Rotislav Klesla
Michael Roszival - David Schlemko

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Scratches: Paul Bissonnette, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Michael Stone, Chris Summers

Injuries: Adrian Aucoin (lower body), Kyle Chipchura (upper body)

Notes: Phoenix heads into this game two days removed from a 3-2 shootout win at Edmonton on Sunday. Pyatt and Vrbata both left the Oilers game with undisclosed injuries and Phoenix coach Dave Tippett called them both game-time decisions for tonight. This game with Dallas will mark the end of a stretch where the Coyotes have played four straight away from home. Tippett's club is 2-1-0 in the first three games of that road swing. For the season, Phoenix is 18-14-5 on the road. One of those wins away from home came on Feb. 7 in Dallas, when the Coyotes handed the Stars a 4-1 defeat, with Vrbata contributing a goal and an assist while Whitney chipped in a pair of helpers. After a stellar February, Phoenix is just 3-5-2 over its last 10 games.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Jamie Benn - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Jordie Benn, Ryan Garbutt, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen. Tomas Vincour

Injuries: none

Notes: After amassing an 11-game point streak, the Stars have now lost two in a row by a combined score of 9-3. Most recently, Dallas lost 4-1 to the Blackhawks at American Airlines Center. That was a game where the visitors led 1-0 just 10 seconds in thanks to an early tally by Chicago's Dave Bolland. Tonight's contest is game two in a four-game homestand for the Stars, who after this stretch will have just two home games remaining. Veterans Dvorak and Souray both return to the lineup tonight after missing seven games combined with lower-body injuries.
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Posted On Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 12:58 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Full-strength Stars look to right ship vs. Coyotes

DALLAS -- For the first time since early February, the Dallas Stars (39-28-5, 83 points) have everyone healthy with veteran winger Radek Dvorak and defenseman Sheldon Souray returning to the ice for tonight's game with the Phoenix Coyotes (36-26-11, 83 points), a contest at American Airlines Center for the lead in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.

This is the same Phoenix team that Dallas faced on Feb. 4 at the same venue and it was the Coyotes who came away with a big 4-1 win. So it's safe to say Stars first-year coach Glen Gulutzan knows what to expect in the final regular-season meeting between these clubs.

"They know who they are. They know how to play to win. They know how to play to get points and they're comfortable in their own skin," Gulutzan said.

Dallas heads into tonight's contest on a two-game losing streak, having most recently lost to Chicago 4-1 on Friday. Last Wednesday, the Stars saw their 11-game point streak end at the hands of the Jets with a 5-2 loss in Winnipeg.

Despite those considerable setbacks, Gulutzan and his players aren't about to panic, especially since counting tonight, they have exactly 10 games remaining.

"Our guys are ready. We're refocused here," he said. "We're not worked up. We know there's a task at hand and we're focused on these last 10."

Dvorak will return to Dallas' third line after missing the last three games with a lower- body injury while Souray will be back in the Stars' top defensive pairing alongside fellow veteran Stephane Robidas after missing four games of his own with a similar injury.

"I feel good. Excited to come back in and be a part of what the guys are doing here and what we're trying to accomplish," Souray said. "It's always a lot more fun to step into the lineup when the games are so meaningful, just get back in it and get back to work."

Gulutzan will again start No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen on Tuesday. And while the Finnish-born goaltender figures to see the bulk of the action the rest of the way, rookie backup Richard Bachman figures to get at least one more start between the pipes for Dallas.

"No, we certainly have another back-to-back in a tough road swing, so we'll certainly play that by ear. There's probably one more game left on the docket for Bacher. We're not looking at this in any different way than we have the rest of the season," Gulutzan said. "We like the positioning we're in and we like what we've done after 72 games, so we're just going to continue these next 10 games the same way."
   

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Posted On Friday, 03.16.2012 / 1:28 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars start big homestand looking to bounce back

DALLAS -- After seeing their 11-game point streak end with a thud in a 5-2 loss at Winnipeg on Wednesday, the Dallas Stars (39-27-5, 83 points) now look to rebound as the Chicago Blackhawks (38-25-8, 84 points) visit American Airlines Center for the second time this season.

Tonight's game begins a crucial four-game homestand for Dallas, a run of games that will see the Stars also face Phoenix, Vancouver and Calgary before they head out for a four-game road trip to end the month of March. 

"That word big comes before every game for the next 11, right?" first-year Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I think the focal point is they [Chicago] are a point ahead of us here. I know they're not in our division. Two points is two points and it's going to be a real tough game."

Gulutzan wasn't hesitant in saying No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen would get the start not only against the Blackhawks, but also for the entire homestand.

"I think for any team right now, the goaltending becomes a real big factor," he said. "There's a big spotlight on your goalie now and the other team's goalie. Kari's rested. He's going to get tonight and he's going to get the next four games. It's important, and we feel we've got a better chance than most people because we've got Kari Lehtonen."

Lehtonen is 8-0-1 with a 1.29 goals-against-average and a .955 save percentage in his last nine starts for the Stars.

After arriving back in the Lone Star State early Thursday morning, Gulutzan gave his players a day off on Thursday before a morning skate on Friday morning at the arena.

Dallas will be without veteran winger Radek Dvorak and defenseman Sheldon Souray, who are both out with lower-body injuries. However, they should be ready to return by Tuesday, when the Stars will host the Coyotes.

"They both should be ready for Tuesday. They won't be tonight though," Gulutzan said.

And rookie defenseman Philip Larsen will be a game-time decision after suffering a knee injury in Wednesday's road loss to the Jets. Larsen did return in the second period but remains day-to-day. If he can't go, then fellow rookie Jordie Benn, older brother of Stars All-Star center Jamie Benn, will get the start.

"He'll be a game-time decision and if not, Jordie Benn will go in. We're very comfortable with Lars, but very more than capable of Jordie Benn to go in if we need him," Gulutzan said.

Some might wonder if there are any lingering effects from Wednesday's streak-ending loss to the Jets, but Stars winger Steve Ott said any such concerns are off base.

"Those games happen. I truthfully believe that. I can't even really imagine the loss as much as how good we've been playing of late in the 10 games before that," Ott said. "I think taking the confidence that we've built in the last little while will be key for tonight."
   
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Posted On Friday, 03.16.2012 / 1:08 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Crawford back in net as Blackhawks visit Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

BLACKHAWKS
Andrew Brunette - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Viktor Stalberg
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig - Jamal Mayers - Jimmy Hayes

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Johnny Oduya
Sean O'Donnell - Dylan Olsen

Corey Crawford
Carter Hutton

Injuries: Daniel Carcillo (torn ACL), Ray Emery (illness), Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), Sami Lepisto (leg), Steve Montador (concussion), Jonathan Toews (concussion)

Scratches: Michael Frolik, Marcus Kruger, Brendan Morrison

Notes: Chicago heads into tonight's game after beating the Blues 4-3 in a shootout on Tuesday night at United Center. Crawford will start between the pipes after playing well in a 4-3 shootout win over the Blues after Ray Emery started, struggled early and was pulled by coach Joel Quenneville. Emery did not make the trip to Dallas, so the Hawks recalled Hutton from Rockford of the AHL. Chicago is 14-18-3 on the road this season and has lost its only visit to American Airlines Center this season, 2-1 in the regular season opener on Oct. 11, 2011.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Jamie Benn - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Adam Burish
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour

Mark Fistric - Stephane Robidas
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Jordie Benn, Ryan Garbutt, Toby Petersen

Injuries: Radek Dvorak (lower body), Philip Larsen (lower body), Sheldon Souray (lower body)

Notes: The Stars saw their 11-game point streak, a stretch where they went 10-0-1, end on Wednesday night in Winnipeg with a 5-2 loss to the Jets. Dallas begins a four-game homestand with tonight's visit by the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. Two current Stars, Burish and Dowell, were members of Chicago's Cup-winning team two seasons ago. These clubs last met on Feb. 23 at United Center with the Stars coming away with a 3-1 win. That victory came in the second game of their recently-concluded point streak. Larsen is a game-time decision with a lower body injury and if he can't go, fellow rookie Jordie Benn, older brother of Jamie Benn, will get the nod.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:55 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Morrow, Ott returning for already surging Stars

DALLAS-- The Dallas Stars (37-26-5, 79 points) are currently on a nine-game point streak and have won four straight, but figure to get a huge boost with the likely return of captain Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott on Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks (29-29-10, 68 points).
   
Morrow has missed 18 straight games with a lower-body injury and last played Feb. 2 at San Jose while Ott had played 50 consecutive games before missing a 4-3 shootout win Thursday over the Sharks because of back spasms.
   
“Yeah, he [Morrow] is going tonight,” Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan said.”His [Ott’s] back spasms have settled down and he’s feeling good, so he’s going to be a go tonight unless something happens between here and there but he felt good this morning.”
   
Both Dallas regulars figure to return to their normal spots on the Stars’ second line with Morrow on the left and Ott on the right of a line centered by 2012 All-Star Jamie Benn.
   
“I’ve already talked to [Morrow] about that and we’re going to start him with Bennie but we’re going to manage his minutes. So we’ll change the lines up a little bit during the game. I told Brenden probably between 10 and 12 or 10 and 14 [minutes], somewhere in there for the first game in five and a half weeks,” Gulutzan said. “I told him he’s not going to PK tonight. It’s a tough one because when that guy gets in he’s 110. If he’s a one-man wrecking crew then coaches get swayed.”
   
And it’s no big surprise to hear both players say they’re chomping at the bit to return to the ice.
   
“Unless the wife makes me some pancakes or something and I have a little trouble getting up this afternoon, I think it’s thumbs up for the game. That’s never been my pre-game routine so I think we’re safe for today,” Morrow said.
   
Ott also chimed in.

“A lot better -- obviously I was pretty locked up there the last game. I hate missing games. It’s tough but I just couldn’t go,” he said. “It’s just too seized up, probably obviously from the long road trip we had. Finally got it to loosen up with a lot of rehab the last couple days and should be good enough to go barring I wake up and it’s not in spasm.”
   
However, the Stars will be without defenseman Sheldon Souray, who left the game Thursday after two periods with a lower-body injury. In his place, Adam Pardy will return to the ice after being a healthy scratch for the last seven games.
   
"[Pardy] was good. At points we were thinking of putting him back in here anyway because he played so well in that stint just with everything that was going on we didn’t do that,” Gulutzan said. “We’re glad he’s getting in now tonight and that’s why we got him, so we can win hockey games.”
   
The Stars have taken four of their first five meetings this year with the Ducks and even with their recent success, they know Anaheim and its lineup full of offensive firepower like reigning Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry is always a club they have to be up for facing.
   
“They’ve got some good offensive players. You’ve got to always be aware when the other team’s top line and good offensive guys are out there because they can make some big plays,” Dallas rookie defenseman Philip Larsen said. “We’ve got to play our game. We know we’ve got to keep this going. We’ve got to be disciplined. They have a good team, got a good power play. It’s important to stay disciplined.”
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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:19 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

DALLAS-- Here are the projected lineups for a game Saturday between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

DUCKS

Niklas Hagman - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan O’Marra - Matt Beleskey
Jason Blake - Rod Pelley - Devante Smith-Pelly

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Tony Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Deslauriers

Injuries: Nick Bonino (lower body), Dan Ellis (sports hernia).
Scratches: Nate Guenin, George Parros

Notes:  The Ducks head into Saturday after losing 3-1 in St. Louis on Thursday, the first game of a three-game road trip. Anaheim is 0-3-0 against the Stars in Dallas this season, most recently losing 1-0 on Jan. 24 in the final game for both clubs before the NHL All-Star break. The Ducks have dropped four of their last six games and No. 1 goaltender Jonas Hiller has lost three consecutive starts between the pipes for Bruce Boudreau’s club. Anaheim recalled center Ryan O’Marra from Syracuse of the AHL on Saturday with Nick Bonino picking up a lower-body injury in the loss to the Blues. O’Marra had 17 points (8-9-17) and was a plus-17 player for Oklahoma City before being traded to the Ducks organization.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Jamie Benn - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Ryan Garbutt - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas
Mark Fistric - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Toby Petersen, Tomas Vincour, Jake Dowell
Injuries: Sheldon Souray (lower body)

Notes:  The Stars head into this contest with the Ducks on a nine-game point streak. Dallas is 8-0-1 dating back to their last loss in regulation on Feb. 19 against the Predators.  On Thursday, the Stars beat the Sharks 4-3 in a shootout with Tomas Vincour getting a game-tying goal late in the third period and also the deciding tally in the shootout. Winger Michael Ryder is currently on an eight-game point streak. The Stars are 4-1-0 in their four games against the Ducks this year and are averaging four points a game against Anaheim, having outscored them by 20-8. This game concludes a short two-game homestand for Dallas. The Stars could get captain Brenden Morrow back after he missed 18 games in a row with a lower body injury. Steve Ott could also return after missing the San Jose game with back spasms. 

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

First-place Stars try again to solve Sharks

DALLAS -- As good as the Dallas Stars (36-26-5, 77 points) have been during their current eight-game point streak, a run where they have gone 7-0-1 and taken 15 of a possible 16 points, on Thursday night at American Airlines Center they face a team they have yet to defeat this season in the San Jose Sharks (33-24-8, 74 points).

Dallas heads into tonight's Pacific Division battle just two days removed from an impressive 5-2 win at Vancouver on Tuesday, a victory that snapped a six-game losing streak on the Canucks' home ice.

That triumph gave the Stars a perfect 3-0-0 record in their road swing through Western Canada last week as they also won at Edmonton and Calgary earlier in the trip.

First-year coach Glen Gulutzan knows the reason for his club's recent upswing is actually a pretty simple one.

"Our guys are competing and it's probably well-documented they're a real tight group and they're playing for each other," Gulutzan said. "That's an important thing this time of year."

In their first three meetings with the Sharks this season, Dallas has been outscored 14-5 by San Jose, a trend Gulutzan obviously wants to see end tonight.

"We haven't really focused on San Jose other than our pre-scout and what they're doing. We've really isolated ourselves to what we need to do and the way we need to approach games. But certainly facts are facts and we know that we haven't beat them," Gulutzan said. "Today we're certainly focused on what our job is, what our game plan is and what it has been the last month. All that is just a distraction, we're focused on the way we need to play tonight."

Stars captain Brenden Morrow did go through his first morning skate since early February but he will miss a 17th straight game with an upper-body injury. He looks like a strong possibility to return to the ice on Saturday against Anaheim.

"Morrow's close, but not yet -- but I would say Brendan is a 60/40 for to play against Anaheim. If not, he'll play against Minnesota [next week]," Gulutzan said.

Second-line winger Steve Ott did not skate this morning due to an illness that continues to linger from the trip to Western Canada, but his coach isn't worried about the gritty forward being ready to go tonight.

"Otter's been sick the whole Western Canada trip and so we'll see how he is tonight, but he'll play," Gulutzan said. "He's getting better."

The Sharks are currently on a three-game losing streak, having lost 3-2 to Edmonton in overtime on Tuesday. But despite their current struggles, they aren't a team the Stars players are about to take lightly.

"They've been playing really well against us this year. We have to see if we can beat these guys," Dallas winger Loui Eriksson said. "It's going to be a hard-working game tonight again. We know they're right behind us in the standings. These two points are really huge for us to get, and we're going to do everything we can to get those."

And for 2012 All-Star center Jamie Benn, the key to getting both points tonight could be in how they approach their first game back after such a successful three-game road trip.

"Yeah, I think we've got to approach tonight like it's a road game. These first home games coming back after a road trip are pretty tough. I think we've got to play it as a road game -- play it the right way and go after them right away," Benn said.

Antti Niemi figures to start in goal for San Jose tonight, while it appears Dallas will go with Kari Lehtonen.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 12:45 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for today’s game between the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

SHARKS
Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Daniel Winnik - Dominic Moore - Torrey Mitchell
TJ Galiardi - Michal Handzus - Jim Vandermeer

Dan Boyle - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Douglas Murray - Brent Burns
Justin Braun - Colin White

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Injuries: Martin Havlat (hamstring)

Scratches: Jason Demers, Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero

Notes: The Sharks head into Thursday's game in Dallas on a three-game losing streak and are just 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. San Jose last played on Tuesday, losing 3-2 in overtime to Edmonton at HP Pavilion. For the season, the Sharks are 14-13-5 away from home. Tonight's contest marks the start of a four-game road trip that will also see them play in Phoenix, Edmonton and Calgary before hosting Nashville next Thursday in San Jose. However, the Sharks have had the Stars' number so far this season, taking all three previous meetings and outscoring Dallas by a combined 14-5.

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Ryan Garbutt - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric
Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Injuries: Jake Dowell (finger), Brenden Morrow (upper body)

Scratches: Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen

Notes: Dallas is currently on a three-game winning streak after sweeping a trip through Western Canada, a run which culminated in an impressive 5-2 win at Vancouver on Tuesday, the Stars' first win on the Canucks' home ice since Jan. 2009. Glen Gulutzan's club is currently on an eight-game point streak, having won seven of their last eight contests. Dallas is 0-3-0 against the Sharks so far this season, dropping two meetings at American Airlines Center and another at HP Pavilion. Ryder is currently on a seven-game point streak while Ribeiro has at least a point in 10 of the last 11 games for the Stars. Tonight's game begins a short, two-game homestand for Dallas, who will also host Anaheim on Saturday.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.29.2012 / 2:38 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kennedy, Crosby skate with team, but out tonight

DALLAS -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy skated with his teammates Wednesday morning, as did Sidney Crosby, but neither of them figure to play tonight.

"Tyler Kennedy was back on the ice with the team for the first time in a morning skate," said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. "Lineup will be game-time at this point in time and Marc-Andre Fleury will start in the net. Sidney skated with the team because he likes skating with people on the ice. He skated today because Tyler was going to be back on the ice with the team."
   
Kennedy hasn't played since Feb. 5 due to a high ankle sprain that was expected to sideline him from 4-6 weeks.

Forward Arron Asham, who missed Sunday's win against Columbus with an upper-body injury, will be a game-time decision. Bylsma said the decision will be made after Asham skates in pre-game warm-ups.
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.29.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars get Benn back, go for fifth straight win

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars have been riding high lately. A four-game winning streak will do that and tonight at American Airlines Center the Stars (33-26-4, 70 points), who currently sit eighth in the Western Conference standings and five points out of the lead in the Pacific Division, will look to equal their season-long winning streak of five games, set back in October 2011 as part of an 11-4-0 start.

These teams have already met once this season, back on Nov. 11 in Pittsburgh, and it was Dan Bylsma's Penguins who came away with a 3-1 win. Several things about that game continue to stick in the mind of Stars first-year  coach Glen Gulutzan.

"I thought they were a well-oiled machine," Gulutzan said. "I thought we played them well through the first half of that game. Then, they got a power-play goal and it was tied at 1-1 going into the third. They know their jobs, they work real hard and they play their systems to a tee."

Tonight's contest will mark the return of Stars All-Star center Jamie Benn to the ice after missing the last six games with a leg injury. Benn will return to his customary spot centering the second line alongside Steve Ott and Adam Burish, but will play less than 20 minutes in his first game since Feb. 16 against Calgary.

"I feel good," Benn said. "Excited for tonight, it's a big game for our team. It should be an exciting one. You want to get back in there and help your team out to try and make a strong push for the playoffs. There's two big points on the line tonight and we need them."

Even after missing much of February, Benn is still second on the Stars in points with 49, and his 32 assists are third-most on the club.

Dallas is 8-6-2 against the Eastern Conference this year and during their current four-game winning streak, the Stars have outscored their last four foes (Montreal, Chicago, Minnesota and Vancouver) by a combined 13-4.

Gulutzan's club is just 1-5-1 in its last seven against the Pens -- but that one win came in Dallas on Nov. 3, 2010, a 5-2 victory.

"They're a good team. They are all definitely on the same page and they play for each other. That combined with skill is a dangerous mix," Stars winger Eric Nystrom said. "We've got the same type of team in here. We're going to work as hard as we possibly can tonight, play our game plan and if we do that, the result should be good."

Dallas' top line of Loui Eriksson, Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder has combined for 40 points in the 15 games since the NHL All-Star break. That matchup between the Stars' top group and the Pens' first line of Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and ex-Star James Neal figures to be one to watch, but the man behind the Dallas bench chooses to put his focus elsewhere.

"We'll be more interested in our defensive matchups against them. Obviously, they have an elite, elite player over there [in Malkin] and we're going to have to be mindful of that tonight," Gulutzan said. "To our guys, it's our game that's our focal point, for sure."
   
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.29.2012 / 9:38 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Penguins, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for today’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Richard Park
Eric Tangradi - Craig Adams - Dustin Jeffrey

Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury
Brad Thiessen

Injuries: Arron Asham (upper body), Sidney Crosby (concussion), Brent Johnson (undisclosed), Tyler Kennedy (ankle)

Scratches:  Ben Lovejoy

Notes: Tonight will mark the first game in Dallas for Neal since the Stars traded him to the Steel City last February along with Niskanen for fellow blueliner Alex Goligoski. Neal was a second-round pick of the Stars in 2005 and played in 224 games for them, registering 72 goals and 131 points during his two-plus seasons in Big D. Niskanen was a first-round pick of Dallas in 2005 and skated in 277 games for the Stars with 16 goals and 76 points during his three and a half seasons in the Lone Star State. These teams met in Pittsburgh on Nov. 11, 2011 with the Pens prevailing 3-1.

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Ryan Garbutt - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric
Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen

Injuries: Jake Dowell (finger), Brenden Morrow (upper body)

Notes: Dallas is currently on a four-game winning streak and hasn't lost since Feb. 19 against Nashville. One more victory and the Stars will equal their season-winning streak of five games, which was set back in Oct. 2011 as part of an 11-4-0 start. The Stars last played on Sunday, when they beat the Canucks in overtime, 3-2 to end a six-game losing streak against Vancouver. Tonight's game will mark the return of Benn, their All-Star center who has missed the last six games with a leg injury. Benn suffered a cut to the back of his leg in an overtime win over the Flames on Feb. 16. He will center Dallas' second line alongside Ott and Burish. First-line center Ribeiro is currently on a seven-game points streak, the longest by any Stars player this season.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.26.2012 / 11:21 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected Lineups: Canucks at Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for today’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

CANUCKS
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen
Mason Raymond - Cody Hodgson - David Booth
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Alex Burrows
Manny Malhotra - Max Lapierre - Byron Bitz

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alex Edler - Andrew Alberts
Aaron Rome - Sami Salo

Roberto Luongo (starter)
Cory Schneider

Scratches:  Alexander Sulzer, Chris Tanev, Dale Weise.

Injuries: Keith Ballard (neck).

Notes:  Vancouver has won both games on their current road trip, ending Detroit’s NHL-record home winning streak at 23 games on Thursday and then winning at New Jersey on Friday in the second game of a back-to-back. The Canucks now lead the league with 86 points and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Vancouver also has the NHL’s top road record at 22-10-2. Sunday will mark the first meeting of the season between the Canucks and Stars and Vancouver swept all four meetings last year and has won six straight overall.

STARS
Lou Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Ryan Garbutt - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric
Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Matt Fraser, Adam Pardy.

Injuries: Jamie Benn (knee), Jake Dowell (finger), Brenden Morrow (upper body).

Notes:  Dallas is currently on a three-game winning streak, having won on the road at Montreal, at Chicago and at home on Friday against Minnesota by a combined score of 10-2. The Stars lost all four meetings with Vancouver last season and overall, Dallas has dropped six straight against the reigning Western Conference  champion Canucks.  C Mike Ribeiro is currently on a six-game point streak.  Dallas will be without All-Star center Jamie Benn for a sixth straight game but rookie defenseman Philip Larsen is probable even after taking a puck to the head in the third period of Friday’s win over the Wild.
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Posted On Friday, 02.24.2012 / 11:10 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Wild, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

WILD
Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Devin Setoguchi
Darroll Powe - Matt Cullen - Nick Johnson
Cal Clutterbuck - Erik Christensen - Chad Rau
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Nick Schultz - Nate Prosser
Greg Zanon - Marek Zidlicky

Niklas Backstrom
Matt Hackett

Scratches:  Justin Falk

Injuries: Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), Josh Harding (lower body), Mikko Koivu (undisclosed), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Mike Lundin (lower body),  Jarod Palmer (concussion), Clayton Stoner (leg)

Notes: The Wild beat the Panthers 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday night in South Florida. Minnesota has just three wins in their last 10 games but has won two in a row. These teams last met in Dallas on Feb. 4 and it was the Stars who came away with a 2-1 win in a shootout. Minnesota had taken the first meeting of the year, on Jan. 24 in the Twin Cities, by a 5-2 margin. Heatley had 2 assists against Florida and now has 14 points over his last 13 games. Coach Mike Yeo might go with the rookie Hackett in goal tonight. He is 2-0-0 thus far with one shutout and a goals-against-average of 0.85.

STARS
Lou Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Ryan Garbutt - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Mark Fistric
Philip Larsen - Sheldon Souray

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Matt Fraser, Adam Pardy

Injuries: Jamie Benn (knee), Jake Dowell (finger), Brenden Morrow (upper body)

Notes: The Stars head into tonight’s game riding a two-game winning streak after road wins at Montreal on Tuesday (3-0) and Chicago on Thursday (3-1). Dallas is 0-9-2 this season in the second game of a back-to-back.  GM Joe Nieuwendyk said during a Thursday interview with a local sports radio station that 2012 All-Star Jamie Benn is doubtful for tonight's game. Benn didn't skate prior to Thursday's game in Chicago, and due to tonight's game being a back-to-back, there was no skate on Friday morning. Tonight's game begins a three-game homestand for the Stars and concludes a stretch where Dallas played in a different building each night for 11 straight games. Ribeiro, who had 2 assists in Thursday's win over the Blackhawks, is currently on a five-game point streak.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 12:00 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected Predators-Stars lineups

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

PREDATORS

Colin Wilson-David Legwand-Gabriel Bourque
Sergei Kostitsyn-Mike Fisher-Martin Erat
Brandon Yip-Nick Spaling-Jordin Tootoo
Matt Halischuk-Craig Smith-Jerred Smithson

Ryan Suter-Shea Weber
Hal Gill-Kevin Klein
Roman Josei-Francis Bouillon

Pekka Rinne (starter)
Anders Lindback

Scratches: Ryan Ellis, Jack Hillen.

Injuries: Patric Hornqvist (upper body), Brian McGrattan (upper body).

Notes:  Barry Trotz's Predators are 0-3-1 in their last four games away from the Music City and they are 0-2-0 against the Stars so far this season. D Hal Gill figures to make his Nashville debut today in Dallas after being acquired on Friday in a trade with Montreal. The addition of Gill makes the Preds, who were already pretty deep at the blueline, even deeper, which could pay huge dividends down the stretch and come playoff time. Nashville fell 2-1 at Detroit on Friday. Unlike Dallas, they did not play on Saturday and figure to be well-rested for this one.

STARS

Loui Eriksson-Mike Ribeiro-Michael Ryder
Steve Ott-Tom Wandell-Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Ryan Garbutt-Jake Dowell-Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski-Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman-Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen-Mark Fistric

Richard Bachman (starter)
Kari Lehtonen

Scratch: Toby Petersen.

Injuries: Jamie Benn, (knee), Brenden Morrow (upper body), Sheldon Souray (foot).

Notes:  The Stars head into today's game with Nashville after a 2-1 overtime loss at Phoenix last night. Dallas is 0-8-2 in the second leg of a back-to-back this season and the only team in the NHL yet to win the second game of a back-to-back. It looks like Glen Gulutzan's club will be without All-Star center Jamie Benn for a second straight game as he continues to recover after being cut by the skate of Chris Giordano in a 3-2 overtime win over Calgary on Thursday. Dallas is 2-0-0 against the Predators this season and the Stars have won four of the last five meetings.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

For Stars, it's all about the start against Flames

DALLAS -- During their current two-game losing streak at American Airlines Center, the Dallas Stars (28-25-3, 59 points) have gotten off to slow starts in consecutive home losses to the Coyotes and Kings. That's a trend first-year coach Glen Gulutzan would like to see reverse itself tonight as the Calgary Flames (27-22-8, 62 points) visit the Lone Star State.

"I don't know if it's an epidemic here because we're starting slow at home and that's something we've addressed," Gulutzan said. "It seems when you're at home, there has to be a greater emphasis on making sure you're coming out. You have to test if your opponent's ready and a lot of times in the first 10 minutes if they're not, you can get an edge and make a team play uncomfortable the rest of the way. I think that's what we haven't done a good job of here. We're putting some focus into our starts here."

For Stars center Mike Ribeiro, having better starts at home boils down to a fairly simple formula.

"At times better starts just means scoring," Ribeiro said. "We just need to be simple -- dump pucks, get a good forecheck going, get some hits, really simplify our game and not try to do too much. We need to get our lines going and get our people involved in the game. The main thing is to just keep pushing the puck forward."

The Flames currently sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference, two spots and three points ahead of the Stars, who are in 11th. Dallas heads into tonight's game two days removed from a 3-1 loss at Detroit on Tuesday, the Red Wings' 21st straight win at Joe Louis Arena, a new NHL record.

Tonight marks the first of four meetings this season between Calgary and Dallas, and given that these two clubs figure to be battling it out for one of the final playoff spots in the West from here on out, there's no understating how big this contest is for both sides.

"We're fighting for our lives. This is our playoffs. We're in a big race and we know it," Stars defenseman Mark Fistric said. "If you can get the fans into it early, get the first goal and let the other team chase us the rest of the game, that's when the other team starts to make mistakes and then you get two, three, four goals."

Fistric added: "Our main focus is to come out and have a really good first 10 minutes of the game, make sure we're doing all the right things, get a bounce, get one and go from there. I think too many times this year at home we've been behind the eight ball early and we're just chasing the game."

The term four-point game might be an overused cliché this time of year, but it's a label that definitely fits tonight.

"Yeah, obviously two points are important in every game, but this is a team we're going to see a lot here until the end of the year. It's important," Ribeiro said. "These are big points for us. It will be a good battle. You need to grind points and find a way to get points. It doesn't have to be pretty, but results are important right now. We need to get them, play a good 60 minutes and find a way to get some points."

Dallas returns to the road after tonight's game for a Saturday date in Phoenix. The Stars won't have back-to-back home games until Feb. 24, when they start a three-game homestand against the Wild.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 1:26 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flames, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

FLAMES
Alex Tanguay - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Tom Kostopoulos - Michael Cammalleri - Blake Comeau
Lance Bouma - Roman Horak - Krys Kolanos
Paul Byton - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving

Scratches: Anton Babchuk

Injuries: Mikael Backlund (upper body), Curtis Glencross (knee), Blair Jones (ankle), David Moss (foot), Lee Stempniak (ankle), Derek Smith (ankle)

Notes: The Flames head into Thursday's game in Dallas after an impressive 5-1 win over Toronto on Tuesday, a game where Kiprusoff turned back 41 shots by the Maple Leafs. Calgary is currently riding a two-game winning streak with impressive home victories over the Canucks last Saturday and the Leafs just two days ago. The Flames are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games but are only 11-14-6 away from the Saddledome this season. Jokinen has been on a hot streak lately with 13 points (6-7-13) over his last 10 games.

STARS
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Tomas Vincour
Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen

Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body), Sheldon Souray (foot)

Notes:  Dallas is just two days removed from a 3-1 loss at Detroit, making it the 21st straight team the Red Wings have beaten at Joe Louis Arena, a new NHL record. The Stars have dropped two straight at home, most recently a 4-2 loss to the Kings on Sunday and Dallas is just 2-3-1 in their last six games at American Airlines Center. Tonight marks the first of four meetings between the Stars and Flames this season. Two Dallas players have ties to Calgary. Pardy was with the Flames for the last three seasons before joining the Stars last summer as a free agent. Nystrom started his NHL career in Calgary and spent his first three seasons there before joining the Wild last year. Nystrom joined the Stars in a trade with Minnesota last October. 

 
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Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 12:49 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected Lineups: Kings at Stars

DALLAS --- Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

KINGS
Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
Dwight King-Mike Richards-Jordan Nolan
Kyle Clifford-Andrei Loktionov-Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson-Colin Fraser-Trent Hunter

Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell-Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez-Matt Greene

Jonathan Bernier (starter)
Jonathan Quick

Scratches: Davis Drewiske, Dustin Penner, Kevin Westgarth.

Injuries: Simon Gagne (concussion), Scott Parse (hip), Jarret Stoll (lower body).

Notes:  Los Angeles heads into Dallas at the end of a six-game road trip. The Kings are 1-3-1 in the first five games of that trek, falling 2-1 in overtime at the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. LA is 2-3-4 in the second leg of a back-to-back this season and the Kings are 11-8-7 on the road this season. Darryl Sutter’s club has scored just five goals in the first six games of their current road trip and is currently on a two-game losing streak. Sutter likely gives Jonathan Bernier the start in goal and he is 1-2-1 in his four starts in the second game of a back-to-back this season with a goals-against-average of 2.52.

STARS
Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Tomas Vincour
Loui Eriksson-Mike Ribeiro-Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen-Tom Wandell-Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski-Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman-Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen-Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Jake Dowell, Adam Pardy.

Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body), Sheldon Souray (foot).

Notes:  Dallas had Saturday off, one day after falling 3-2 at Buffalo in a shootout to finish a quick two-game road trip with three of a possible four points. The Stars have won three straight against the Kings after dropping the first two meetings of the season back in October 2011. Sunday’s game will be the final regular season meeting between these Pacific Division foes this year.  Jamie Benn, a 2012 NHL All-Star has seven points (4-3-7) in the first six games of the second half.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars begin grueling stretch trying to hold off Coyotes

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars embark on an 18-day stretch beginning tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes in which they will play 11 games without having consecutive home games at any point. Dallas clearly wants to start off this run on a positive note, but there is a lot more in play surrounding tonight's Pacific Division clash.

That's because after Phoenix beat Detroit 3-1 in Glendale on Monday night, the Coyotes (24-21-8) pulled into a tie with the Stars for the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings with 56 points. The Stars (27-22-2) currently hold the tiebreaker because they have played two fewer games.

First-year Stars coach Glen Gulutzan is well aware how big tonight's game is for his club, especially playing a division rival they figure to be battling the rest of the way for one of the bottom two playoff spots in the West.

"Every game's important for us, but some have different meanings. This is a team we're tied with. This is direct competition. This is a team that wants what we want," Gulutzan said. "This is a bigger game for us. They played last night. We're fresh. This is a real big game for us."

While the Coyotes come into this game on the second end of a back-to-back and in the early stages of a stretch where they play four games in six nights, Dave Tippett's club does have history on their side. The Coyotes are 2-0-1 in their last four games at American Airlines Center, but they are just 12-11-4 on the road this year.

Phoenix is 4-3-1 in the second game of a back-to-back this season, a solid mark. But for Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who spent his last few seasons with the Coyotes, jumping on tonight's foe early is vital, especially with them having played Monday.

"It's an advantage for any team -- a team's coming in back-to-back. With their travel, they get in late. We've been waiting for them and we have to be focused and ready," Fiddler said. "It seems like when we're a little more physical, we're a better hockey team. It's something we're going to start doing tonight."

The Stars last played on Saturday when they beat the Wild 2-1 in a shootout. No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen was stellar, stopping 33 of 34 shots and two of three attempts by Minnesota in the shootout. It was Lehtonen's third consecutive win after a run of four straight losses. He is 4-1-3 with a 1.91 goals-against-average in his nine career starts against Phoenix.

But if there is a key to tonight's game for both clubs, it involves discipline. Phoenix is the least-penalized club in the NHL, averaging just 7.8 minutes per night while Dallas averages 13.1, making them the League's third-most penalized team.

However, should they play a fairly disciplined game and be able to draw some penalties, the Stars' power play could be a factor. Dallas has scored on the power play in three straight games, which ties a season high, and it's a streak the Stars would like to continue tonight.

"I think we have to get a real good start here. We have a lot of games coming up here. There are so many big games coming up," Stars winger Loui Eriksson said. "We have to play well to make it to the playoffs. Starting today against Phoenix, it's a four-point game for us here. If we win, we can get two extra points against them before we go on a road trip here with a lot of games coming up, so it's going to be an important game."
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:55 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Coyotes vs. Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night’s game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

COYOTES

Ray Whitney-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Raffi Torres-Daymond Langkow-Mikkel Boedker
Larui Korpikoski-Boyd Gordon-Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt-Kyle Chipchura-Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle-Adrian Aucoin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Rotislav Klesla
Michael Roszival-Derek Morris

Mike Smith (starter)
Jason LaBarbera

Scratches: Paul Bissonnette, Chris Summers.

Injuries: David Schlemko (foot).

Notes:  The Coyotes beat Detroit 3-1 on Monday night in Glendale, ending a seven-game losing streak against the Red Wings. Martin Hanzal had two goals against Detroit, who has now beaten the Sharks and Red Wings in consecutive games. Dave Tippett’s club is 4-3-1 in the second game of back-to-backs so far this season and has a goal differential of plus-1 in those contests. These clubs have already met three times this year but only once in Dallas, where the Stars won 2-1 in overtime back on Oct. 10. Phoenix is 1-0-1 in the two meetings in Glendale. The Coyotes are 12-11-4 on the road and are 4-4-2 in their past 10 games.

STARS

Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom-Mike Ribeiro-Loui Eriksson
Adam Burish-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen-Tom Wandell-Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray-Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman-Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen-Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Jake Dowell.

Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body).

Notes: Dallas begins a stretch with Tuesday night’s game against Phoenix where it will play in a different building in 11 straight games. There are a number of home games, five to be exact, coupled with six road contests but the Stars won’t have consecutive games in the Lone Star State until Feb. 24 against Minnesota, when they start a three-game homestand. The Stars beat the Wild 2-1 in a shootout Saturday night at American Airlines Center and will be without captain Brenden Morrow, who continues to be bothered by a combination neck/shoulder issue. Morrow will miss a second straight game and also won’t travel for a quick, two-game road trip to Columbus and Buffalo later this week.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 6:45 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

With Morrow out, Stars shuffle lines

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars put captain Brenden Morrow on injured reserve Friday with a combination neck and shoulder issue, which means Glen Gulutzan's team will be without their captain for at least the next week.

"I don't have much on Brenden. His neck was bothering him again, shoulder. He's going to go see the doctor here today and go from there," Gulutzan said before Saturday's game against Minnesota. "That's all I know."

With a vacancy on Dallas' second line alongside center Mike Ribeiro and left winger Loui Eriksson, a 2011 NHL All-Star, it looks like third-line winger Eric Nystrom will be the one to move up as a fill-in for Morrow.

It's a challenge his coach feels he's ready for.

"He's a worker and I think that's going to help (Ribeiro) there too a little bit. With our captain being out, we've got to have other guys step in and do things," Gulutzan said. "When you get injuries, you've got to mix and match and put guys in places that you think they can succeed."


When asked about skating with two new linemates for tonight's game against Minnesota, Nystrom, who spent last season with the Wild, admits it's an opportunity he welcomes. His 15 goals currently rank third on the Stars.

"I'm just excited. It'll be fun. It's a good opportunity to play with a guy like that (Ribeiro). He really loves to dish," Nystrom said. "I've just got to make sure my game stays the same-staying around the net, getting in on the forecheck, playing physical and creating space for (Ribeiro) to do his thing."


Dallas also recalled center Tomas Vincour, who has played 18 games in the NHL this season, from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to fill the open roster spot. Vincour will fill Nystrom's spot on the third line alongside Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.


"He's just going to work," Gulutzan said of Vincour. "It's an opportunity for him to get on a line that likes to work and grind. It's an opportunity for him to play some good, significant minutes."


Tonight's game comes just 13 days after these clubs met at the Xcel Energy Center, a game the Wild won 5-2 by scoring three goals in less than a minute. Dallas expects a similar effort from Minnesota tonight in its building.

"Extremely hard-working team, good defensive team and they're well coached for sure," was how Gulutzan characterized the Wild. "They're going to bring energy into this building that's for sure. They come to work every night and that's the key for us. We're coming to work too."

Dallas forward Michael Ryder, who is tied for the team lead in goals with 18 and will skate in the 600th game of his career tonight, remembers that loss in the Twin Cities well but expects a much better effort this time around at American Airlines Center.


"It was a tough game and we definitely don't forget that. It's getting to the point in the season where we need to get on a little roll and get some points every night. We can't wait until the end of the year. We need to do it right now," Ryder said.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:56 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Wild-Stars

DALLAS – Here are the projected lineups for a game tonight between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

WILD

Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Darroll Powe - Erik Christensen - Carson McMillan
Matt Kassian - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Nick Schultz - Jared Spurgeon
Justin Falk - Nate Prosser
Greg Zanon - Clayton Stoner

Nicklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Scratches: Mike Lundin, Brad Staubitz, Marek Zidlicky.
Injuries: Clayton Stoner (lower body), Mikko Koivu (shoulder), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), Jarod Palmer (concussion).

NOTES: Minnesota is 0-10-4 at American Airlines Center since 2003. These clubs met on Jan. 21 at the Xcel Energy Center and it was the Wild who took the first meeting of the season by a 5-2 margin. The Wild come into this one on a winning note after a 1-0 victory at Colorado on Thursday night. Mike Yeo’s club is 12-12-4 on the road this season. Saturday figures to mark the Minnesota debut of center Erik Christensen, who was acquired in a trade with the Rangers on Friday.

STARS

Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Tomas Vincour - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.
Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body).

NOTES:  Dallas placed captain Brenden Morrow on injured reserve on Friday and he is expected to miss about a week. Morrow has been recently bothered by a neck and shoulder issue and didn’t play in the final game before the All-Star break against Anaheim on Jan. 24. Center Tomas Vincour has been recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to give Glen Gulutzan a full roster. The Stars split their two-game road trip to Anaheim and San Jose earlier this week, beating the Ducks 6-2 on Wednesday but falling 5-2 to the Sharks on Thursday, keeping them winless on the tail end of back-to-backs so far this season.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.04.2012 / 1:39 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Nystrom expected to replace injured Morrow for Stars

DALLAS – On Friday night, the Dallas Stars (26-22-2, 54 points) announced they had put Brenden Morrow on injured reserve with a neck and shoulder issue, which means Glen Gulutzan's team will be without their captain for at least the next week.

"I don't have much on Brenden. His neck was bothering him again, shoulder. He's going to go see the doctor here today and go from there," Gulutzan said. "That's all I know."

And with a vacancy on Dallas' second line alongside center Mike Ribeiro and All-Star left wing Loui Eriksson, it looks like third-line winger Eric Nystrom will be the one to move up as a fill-in for Morrow.

It's a challenge his coach feels he's ready for.

"He's a worker and I think that's going to help (Ribeiro) there too a little bit. With our captain being out, we've got to have other guys step in and do things," Gulutzan said. "When you get injuries, you've got to mix and match and put guys in places that you think they can succeed."

When asked about skating with two new linemates for tonight's game with Minnesota (25-19-7, 57 points), Nystrom, who spent last season with the Wild, admits it's an opportunity he welcomes. His 15 goals currently rank third on the Stars.

"I'm just excited. It'll be fun. It's a good opportunity to play with a guy like that (Ribeiro). He really loves to dish," Nystrom said. "I've just got to make sure my game stays the same-staying around the net, getting in on the forecheck, playing physical and creating space for (Ribeiro) to do his thing."

Dallas also recalled center Tomas Vincour, who has played 18 games in the NHL this season, from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League to fill the open roster spot. Vincour will fill Nystrom's spot on the third line alongside Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.

"He's just going to work," Gulutzan said of Vincour. "It's an opportunity for him to get on a line that likes to work and grind. It's an opportunity for him to play some good, significant minutes."

This game comes just 13 days after these clubs met at the Xcel Energy Center, a game the Wild won 5-2 after scoring three goals in less than a minute. Dallas expects a similar effort from Minnesota tonight in their building.

"Extremely hard-working team, good defensive team and they're well coached for sure," is how Gulutzan characterized the Wild. "They're going to bring energy into this building that's for sure. They come to work every night and that's the key for us. We're coming to work too."

Stars right winger Michael Ryder, who is tied for the team lead in goals with 18 and will skate in the 600th game of his career tonight, remembers that loss in the Twin Cities well but expects a much better effort this time around at American Airlines Center.

"It was a tough game and we definitely don't forget that. It's getting to the point in the season where we need to get on a little roll and get some points every night. We can't wait until the end of the year. We need to do it right now," Ryder said.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 2:36 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Ducks want to keep the wins coming

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks (18-22-7, 43 points) will look to continue their nine-game unbeaten streak with a win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Bruce Boudreau's club is 8-0-1 over its last nine games, a run of positive results that includes a 5-2 win over the same Stars on Jan. 10 at the Honda Center.

Anaheim's coach has no illusions about how rare such a good run of form is in today's National Hockey League.

"I think it has more to do with staying at a level to win, which is difficult. That's why there's not a lot of winning streaks of this nature during the course of a year," Boudreau said. "It's tough to win. Early on, teams said we're playing the Ducks. Now teams say they're playing pretty well. We'd better be ready for them. We want to be the ones to end it."

For Ducks forward Corey Perry, the 2011 Hart Trophy winner, his club's recent streak is something he chalks up to one simple fact.

"Yeah, I think everybody's starting to buy into the system. Everybody's buying into what Bruce is preaching every day," Perry said. "You look at the way we've been winning games and it starts right in our own zone -- playing tight defense and eliminating the turnovers we had in the first half of the year."

The Ducks head into tonight's game two days removed from a 3-2 win over Colorado, a game where starting goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped a season-high 43 shots to pick up his fifth straight win between the pipes.

"I don't think we played our best, but Hiller did. This was a game the goalie needed to steal you one," Boudreau said. "We just hope it doesn't become a trend. I just thought our guys looked a little tired, maybe a little more mentally tired than they were physically tired, but Jonas came up and played tremendous for us."

Tonight's game coupled with Anaheim's first two after the break against Phoenix and a second meeting with Dallas figure to be big should the Ducks hope to climb back into the playoff race, something everyone in the room is aware of.

"We talked about that this morning. It's division opponents and teams you're trying to catch in the standings," Perry said. "These are three huge games for us. Six points are on the line. You could even say 12 points are on the line because it's our division and division teams. We have to be ready to play. We want to get the two points tonight before the six-day break that we have and go into the break on a high. It'd be a good feeling if we could do that."

His coach agrees, but is also keeping things in proper perspective.

"We just want to focus on one thing at a time, and tonight's the only thing we want to focus on," Boudreau said.

But the veteran head coach did admit he and his staff are on guard to prevent his players from looking past tonight's game to the pending All-Star break.

"Yeah, I think we alluded to that this morning a little bit and we'll do it again tonight. We'll do some talking about that for sure," Boudreau said.

   

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 2:15 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

In need of win, Stars hope for boost from Ribeiro

DALLAS -- It's no big secret that the Dallas Stars (24-21-2, 50 points) need a win in a big way. Dallas is currently on a five-game winless streak, a run that has seen both their record at home and on the road fall below .500.

The Stars have also not won at home since Jan. 7, going 0-2-1 in their last four at American Airlines Center and making tonight's game with the Anaheim Ducks pretty huge.

"We've played a few games here through this stretch with some good intensity. The way Anaheim's playing we're going to have to come out hard," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We're looking for a 60-minute effort from all our guys."

Dallas will get a boost from the return of top centerman Mike Ribeiro, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury.

Gulutzan said Ribeiro is ready to go, but the veteran center wasn't quite so sure.

"Good, it feels good out there. Just see after the warm-up (before the game)," Ribeiro said. "This morning, it was a little tight when I got up. First 10 minutes, it's tight and then after I'm warmed up, it felt better."

And the one thing the veteran center wants to bring is energy to his club.

"You need to win no matter what or get a point here and there, scratch it out. It's going to be important before the break to get a win to boost the team with a positive before the break. February's going to be crazy for us," Ribeiro said. "It's going to be important to finish (the first half) the right way. It's important for us to win to just get that positive vibe back. If I can play tonight, hopefully I can bring energy for the guys and get guys excited for the game."

However, the Stars will be without captain Brenden Morrow, who is currently bothered by a neck issue, something that reared its head earlier this season and put him out for six games.

With Morrow out, Dallas called up Matt Fraser from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League who had 21 goals and 35 points in 40 games in the AHL. Fraser will skate on the Stars' fourth line alongside Jake Dowell and Tomas Vincour.

"It's exciting," Fraser said of making his NHL debut. "You dream of this day since you start playing hockey. Obviously, it's a step in the right direction for me personally. It's just a small taste. My goal is to be a professional in the NHL."

Dallas will also still be without center Jamie Benn, who will miss a fourth straight game after having his appendix out nine days ago. Benn however will likely skate in the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday in Ottawa.

While the Stars players know they want more than anything to head into the All-Star break on a winning note, they also realize they’re facing a Ducks team that is unbeaten in their last nine (8-0-1).

"Obviously, they've got those big three guys (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan), those three righty skill players, big guys," Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "More importantly, they're playing really good, something like 8-1-1 in their last 10. They're playing obviously their best hockey of the year. Got off to a tough start, but they're kind of rounding into form I guess. It'll be a good test for us tonight."
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 1:48 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

DUCKS
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Rod Pelley - Mark Bell - George Parros

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Deslauriers

Scratches: Nate Guenin.
Injuries: LW Matt Beleskey (hand), G Dan Ellis (groin), RW Devante Smith-Pelly (foot).

Notes: Anaheim is an impressive 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and heads into Tuesday's final game before the All-Star break fresh off a 3-2 win over Colorado on Sunday. Hiller had 43 saves in that win over the Avs, getting the victory in his fifth straight start. Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in that victory, which gives him 9 points in his last nine games. Ryan had a pair of tallies vs. Colorado, giving him 4 goals in his last five and 9 in his last 13.

STARS

Michael Ryder - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Matt Fraser - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.
Injuries: Brenden Morrow (neck), Mike Ribeiro (knee).

Notes:  The Stars head into their final contest before the break on a five-game winless streak. Most recently, Dallas fell 5-2 at Minnesota on Saturday night. Ribeiro, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury, returns to the ice for the first time since Jan. 7 against Edmonton, when he bumped knees with the Oilers' Theo Peckham. Fraser will be making his NHL debut against the Ducks. He had 21 goals and 35 points in 40 games for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. These clubs met on Jan. 10 at the Honda Center with Anaheim prevailing, 5-2.
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Posted On Friday, 01.20.2012 / 1:25 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars look to rebound from tough week vs. Lightning

DALLAS -- It has been a fairly tough week for the Dallas Stars. On Monday night, Dallas fell 1-0 to St. Louis and the next night, saw itsrecord fall to 0-6-1 in the second game of a back-to-back with a shootout loss at home to Detroit.

Add in a tough 2-1 loss to Colorado last Saturday and Dallas (24-19-2, 50 points) is currently riding a three-game winless streak. As the Stars near the All-Star break, they know they need to start getting full points and tonight's game with Tampa Bay (18-23-4, 40 points) represents an excellent chance to do so.

The Lightning head into this one fresh off a huge 5-3 win over reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston on Tuesday, but they haven't won on the road since Dec. 17, 2011 at Columbus.

Still, Stars coach Glen Gulutzan knows that any time you face a club with such talented offensive players like Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos, it will be a sizeable challenge.

"We have guys that have to step up. We have to do it collectively. We have to be smart defensively collectively, and we have to win some areas of the ice to make sure that we try to minimize those guys' impact," Gulutzan said. "They're great players. Outside of having them not playing tonight, they're going to be in it, so we have to do our part collectively."

Dallas will again be without its top-two centermen in Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro. Benn has missed two straight games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Sunday, while Ribeiro has missed five straight with a knee issue.

No matter who they put on the ice, winger Eric Nystrom knows the goal is always the same -- come away from tonight's game with the full two points and head to Minnesota on a winning note in advance of tomorrow night's meeting with the Wild.

"It's huge, obviously," Nystrom said. "Everybody sees the standings and how tight it is. You've got to stick with the herd and have got to find ways to win games. We've been close. We've been playing well, but still, giving up those points is tough to swallow."

Here are the projected lineups for tonight's game:

LIGHTNING
Steve Downie - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Tom Pyatt - Vincent Lecavalier - Martin St. Louis
Ryan Malone - Dominic Moore - Nate Thompson
Pierre-Cedric Labrie - Trevor Smith - Brett Connolly

Eric Brewer - Pavel Kubina
Brett Clark - Matt Gilroy
Bruno Gervais - Brendan Mikkelson

Mathieu Garon
Dwayne Roloson

Scratches: none

Injuries: Marc-Andre Bergeron (upper body), Adam Hall (upper body), Victor Hedman (concussion), Mattias Ohlund (knee), Ryan Shannon (knee), Dana Tyrell (lower body), JT Wyman (upper body)

Notes: Tampa Bay comes off a huge 5-3 win over defending Stanley Cup champion Boston on Tuesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. That victory ended a seven-game winless streak. Now the Bolts look for their first back-to-back wins of the season and also seek to put a hasty end to a six-game winless streak away from home. The last time they won on the road was on Dec. 17, 2011 at Columbus, when they bested the Blue Jackets 3-2.

STARS

Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Adam Burish - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric - Alex Goligoski
 
Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Philip Larsen, Adam Pardy

Injuries: Jamie Benn (appendectomy), Mike Ribeiro (knee)

Notes: Dallas will look to end a three-game winless streak, a run of tough results that has seen the Stars drop a pair of one-goal games and, most recently, fall in a shootout to Detroit. The Stars have not beaten the Lightning in regulation in Dallas since Nov. 20, 2000, when they handed the Bolts a 6-2 defeat at Reunion Arena. Gulutzan's club has a 3-3-1 mark on the first day of back-to-backs this season and will play at Minnesota on Saturday. Larsen has been activated from injured reserve but won't make his return until Saturday against the Wild.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 3:07 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Vincour in for injury-riddled Stars

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Stars will continue to be without their top two centers, Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro, as they host the Detroit Red Wings tonight at American Airlines Center. But they will get back another injured player, as rookie forward Tomas Vincour, who has missed the last 14 games with a knee injury, will see his first action since Dec. 15, 2011.

"It feels good," Vincour said of his knee. "I'm ready to go tonight and focus on helping us get two points tonight. Whatever coach (Glen Gulutzan)wants me to do, I'm going to do the best for the team so we can start winning games again."

In 14 games this season, Vincour has a goal and 2 assists. He was activated from injured reserve Tuesday; as a result, Dallas sent fellow forward Francis Wathier, who had been called up Sunday and played in Monday's loss at St. Louis, back to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

Vincour will see minutes on the fourth line, most likely alongside Toby Petersen and Jake Dowell. He figures to log six or seven minutes in his return, according to Gulutzan.

Dallas heads into tonight's contest on a two-game losing streak and the Stars, who lost 1-0 at St. Louis on Monday, are 0-6-0 in the second half of back-to-backs this season. They will face a Red Wings club that is on a three-game win streak and won a franchise-record 15th straight game at Joe Louis Arena on Monday, a 5-0 blanking of Buffalo.

"It's going to be a tough one," Gulutzan said. "We worked real hard last night and didn't come up with a win. Tonight will be a tough game against a real good opponent. We're playing top-five teams in the League right now. We're going to have to work."

Stars starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen was stellar against the Blues on Monday, stopping 31 of 32 shots while taking a tough loss. However, Gulutzan will go with rookie Richard Bachman tonight against the Wings.

If Dallas is to break its two-game skid, Gulutzan knows they only have to adhere to a simple formula.

"We have to work," he said. "There's no secret. If we come in with the attitude that it's not going to be a tough game, we'll be in trouble. We've got to dig in, work, win the blue lines and play good defense."

So far this season, Dallas is 0-2-0 against Detroit, having lost to the Red Wings at home and on the road. These teams met just two weeks ago in Dallas, and it was Detroit who came away with a 5-4 win thanks to three-point nights from Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg.

These teams will meet once more in the regular season, on Feb. 14 in Detroit.

Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game:
       
RED WINGS
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jakub Kindl - Jonathan Ericsson

Ty Conklin will start in goal, with Jimmy Howard serving as the backup.

Forward Jan Mursak will be a healthy scratch, joining injured Wings Mike Commodore (foot) and Patrick Eaves (jaw) on the sideline

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Adam Burish - Radek Dvorak
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Michael Ryder
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour

Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Mark Fistric - Alex Goligoski

Defenseman Adam Pardy will be a healthy scratch; also sitting out are injured forwards Jamie Benn (appendectomy) and Mike Ribeiro (knee), as well as defenseman Philip Larsen (head).
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

DUCKS
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Rod Pelley - Mark Bell - George Parros

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Deslauriers

Scratches: Nate Guenin.
Injuries: LW Matt Beleskey (hand), G Dan Ellis (groin), RW Devante Smith-Pelly (foot).

Notes: Anaheim is an impressive 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and heads into Tuesday's final game before the All-Star break fresh off a 3-2 win over Colorado on Sunday. Hiller had 43 saves in that win over the Avs, getting the victory in his fifth straight start. Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in that victory, which gives him 9 points in his last nine games. Ryan had a pair of tallies vs. Colorado, giving him 4 goals in his last five and 9 in his last 13.

STARS

Michael Ryder - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Matt Fraser - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.
Injuries: Brenden Morrow (neck), Mike Ribeiro (knee).

Notes:  The Stars head into their final contest before the break on a five-game winless streak. Most recently, Dallas fell 5-2 at Minnesota on Saturday night. Ribeiro, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury, returns to the ice for the first time since Jan. 7 against Edmonton, when he bumped knees with the Oilers' Theo Peckham. Fraser will be making his NHL debut against the Ducks. He had 21 goals and 35 points in 40 games for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. These clubs met on Jan. 10 at the Honda Center with Anaheim prevailing, 5-2.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 1:26 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Benn brothers set to play first NHL game together

DALLAS -- Jamie Benn is currently in his third NHL season, so facing the Detroit Red Wings tonight will be nothing new for the 22-year-old Dallas winger. But tonight's game will mark the NHL debut of older brother Jordie, a 24-year-old defenseman who was recalled from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Sunday.

In 31 games in the AHL, Jordie Benn had 7 goals and 15 points. He will be half of the Stars' third defensive pairing, skating alongside Mark Fistric.

Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan knows the elder Benn well after having coached him in the AHL last season.

"We're in the business of winning hockey games, so we want the best player from down there and he was that guy. He's going to get a well-deserved opportunity," Gulutzan said.

Benn has only been up with the Stars for a few days, but he's already earning rave reviews for his solid play.

"We were partners in one of the exhibition games. I thought that we were a pretty solid pair," Fistric said. "He keeps it simple but he has that skill part of his game as well. I think that's what makes him valuable. Obviously, he's progressed nicely and that's why he’s here."

Both Benn parents will be in attendance for tonight's contest, one of several trips they usually make from their native British Columbia to see Jamie play. But it's clear tonight’s game will be extra special for all parties involved.

"I think it's going to be really special. It's something I was definitely hoping would happen in the summer," Jamie Benn said. "When he signed his contract, I knew there might be a chance. Tonight's going to be special for me, him and our family."

Jamie added: "They [our parents] wouldn't miss this for the world. They just flew in last night. When my brother told my mom and dad, they got pretty emotional. It's pretty special -- having two kids make the NHL, let alone play on the same team and be in the same game together."

About the only member of their immediate family who won't make the trip is the Benns' sister, who will instead be catching this one on TV.

Even though he is 24 and nearly a full two years older than Jamie, the elder Benn admits there will be some nerves.

"For sure, it's a dream come true. I'll try not to think about it and just go play hockey," Jordie Benn.

But the man who will be skating alongside the Stars rookie blueliner feels he has the mental makeup to handle tonight's debut with few if any hiccups.

“I think he's a pretty mature guy," Fistric said. "Your first shift is the most nerve-racking one and after that, you settle down and it's another hockey game. It's an exciting time, playing your first ever NHL game. I know I still remember mine, and I don't think there’s a guy that doesn't remember his. It's a great time and it's awesome for the family, especially when you have two brothers playing in the NHL. I wish that could have happened for me. It's an exciting time for him and I think he's going to be great."

The Benns will be the sixth set of brothers to skate for the Stars franchise. The last pair to do so was Derian and Kevin Hatcher in 1996.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 12:56 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars, Wings look to ride momentum into 2012

DALLAS -- Two longtime rivals meet on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center looking to ride momentum from  impressive victories on New Year's Eve. Detroit blanked the resurgent St. Louis Blues, 3-0, to end 2011 on a very high note while Dallas, which had lost 4-1 to Columbus on Thursday, the Blue Jackets' first regulation road win of the season, rebounded nicely to hand defending Stanley Cup champion Boston a 4-2 defeat in front of a packed house in Big D.

Here are tonight's projected lineups:
       
RED WINGS
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Dan Cleary - Justin Abdelkader - Drew Miller
Gustav Nyquist - Cory Emmerton - Joakim Andersson

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Mike Commodore

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin

Scratches: Jakub Kindl

Injuries: Chris Conner (hand), Patrick Eaves (jaw), Darren Helm (groin), Tomas Holmstrom (groin)

Notes: White is currently third in the NHL in plus/minus, sporting a rating of plus-24. Detroit has an impressive goal differential of plus-39. The 84 goals allowed by the Red Wings is third-fewest in the league, behind only Boston (68 goals) and the New York Rangers (79 goals). Howard currently leads all NHL goaltenders with 23 wins.

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Adam Pardy
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Brenden Dillon, Jake Dowell

Injuries: Philip Larsen (head), Stephane Robidas (foot), Sheldon Souray (ankle), Tomas Vincour (MCL)

Notes: Defenseman Jordie Benn, older brother of Stars forward Jamie Benn, figures to make his NHL debut against the Red Wings. These clubs have already met once this season in Detroit and it was the Wings who prevailed 5-2 in the final contest of a four-game road swing. Tonight's game is the final contest in a three-game homestand. Dallas is 1-1-0 in their first two at home.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:29 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars' Ryder ready to face Bruins

DALLAS -- The last time the Dallas Stars faced the Boston Bruins, it was on Feb. 3 in Boston and the Bruins came away with a 6-3 win. That defeat was a costly one for Dallas as they lost three players to injuries and the Stars went 1-6-1 in the eight games after the setback.

Dallas winger Adam Burish was one of the players who left that game injured, but he won’t go so far as to say there is any lingering bad blood from he and his teammates directed toward the reigning Stanley Cup champion Bruins.

“I guess the thing I remember most [about that game] is we got spanked. It just wasn’t even a close hockey game. We never really had a chance,” Burish said. “I think we got within two goals one time but they scored three pretty quick.”

Bruins center Gregory Campbell agrees there isn’t any bad blood left over from last season’s match-up or from any of the clubs’ previous meetings.

“Honestly, I don’t think too many guys have put too much thought into what happened last year. Two of the guys that were involved in that are not even on the team anymore,” Campbell said. “For us and for them, I think the most important thing is winning the game.”

Stars captain Brenden Morrow adopted a different approach when asked what he remembered from his club’s last meeting with Boston, issuing a simple, two-word, deadpan response of “We lost.”

Dallas has dropped two straight while the Bruins head into the contest tonight on a seven-game winning streak, a run where they have outscored their opponents 32-8 and Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan knows what to expect from the reigning champs in tonight’s contest.

“They’re a solid team. You look at their goals against. You look at their penalty kill. You look at their 5-on-5 game. You look at their team toughness and team speed. They’ve got everything,” Gulutzan said. “That’s why they won last year. I think it’s a really good measure for us as a team that’s trying to develop an identity.

For Stars winger Michael Ryder, who was with the Bruins for the last three seasons before coming to Dallas last summer as a free agent, facing his former club figures to be an interesting experience for the 31-year-old forward. Ryder signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Stars in July after winning the Cup with the Bruins.

“It’s going to be a little different, playing against these guys but it’s just another hockey game,” Ryder said. “It’s going to be odd playing against them but I’m here now and we’re trying to get the win.”

But whether there is bad blood between these teams or not, the contest tonight will be played in front of a packed American Airlines Center, a big plus for the Dallas players.

“I think the energy that will come from the game tonight will come from playing against the Stanley Cup champs. They embarrassed us last year. They beat the hell out of us last year,” Burish said. “We’ve got a full building tonight. It’s New Year’s Eve. That’s more of where the excitement’s going to come from rather than let’s get revenge. This is the Cup champs, sold-out building New Year’s Eve. Let’s have a good one.”

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 1:17 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins-Stars probable lineups

The defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins will put their seven-game winning streak on the line against the Dallas Stars, who have dropped two straight. Boston last lost 2-0 at Florida on Dec. 8. Since then, not only have the Bruins won seven in a row, but they have allowed a total of eight goals during those seven contests while scoring 32. Dallas is an impressive 8-4-2 in New Year’s Eve contests since moving from Minnesota in 1993.
   
BRUINS

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuuka Rask

Notes: Tonight marks the sixth time the Bruins and Stars have met on New Year’s Eve. Dallas has a 3-2-0 mark against Boston in those contests. C Rich Peverley looks set to return after missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury and figures to return to his previous role of centering the third line. The Bruins, who are 6-2-1 against the Western Conference this season, head into this one after a 2-1 overtime win at Phoenix, their seventh straight victory. On the road, Boston is an impressive 11-3-0. The Bruins also lead the League with a plus-57 goal differential.

STARS

Loui Eriksson-Jamie Benn-Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow-Mike Ribeiro-Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell-Tom Wandell-Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski-Philip Larsen
Nicklas Grossman-Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric-Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Notes:  Dallas has dropped two straight, the most recent a 4-1 loss to Columbus on Thursday night, the Blue Jackets’ first road win in regulation this season. G Kari Lehtonen stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced in the loss to Columbus, his first action since Nov. 26 after missing the previous 12 games with a groin injury. These teams last met in Boston on Feb. 3, 2011 and it was the Bruins who prevailed, 6-3, a game where several Stars were injured. This will be RW Michael Ryder’s first game against Boston after spending three seasons there and being part of last year’s Cup-winning squad.
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Posted On Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 1:14 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars focus on reviving power play

DALLAS -- It's no big secret that the Dallas Stars' power play has been struggling of late. Over their last 10 games, that unit is 5-for-37 (13.5 percent). So it wasn't surprising to hear Stars first-year coach Glen Gulutzan say the primary focus of Wednesday's practice would be on improving the performance of that group.

Tonight Dallas (20-14-1, 41 points) hosts Columbus (9-22-5, 23 points), a team whose penalty kill currently ranks 29th in the NHL, killing off 74.6 percent of opposing power plays, and the Stars hope to get their power play going in fairly short order.

"We've got to see it on the ice. It'll be a good test because Columbus' PK is very, very aggressive. We talked about our work ethic 5-versus-4 that has to improve," Gulutzan said. "It's a good game for us to ramp up our work ethic."

Besides trying to ramp up their PP, the other big story surrounding the home side is the return of Kari Lehtonen to the nets tonight after a 12-game absence. The Finnish netminder suffered a groin injury in a Nov. 26 loss at Phoenix and hasn't played since.

Prior to his injury, Lehtonen was 13-4-1 with a 2.34 goals-against-average in 19 games, and getting their top goaltender back figures to be a huge lift for Dallas.

"It's big. It's a huge lift for us," Gulutzan said. "He's completely healthy now. To have him back is a big boost for our team."

While Dallas will get a huge lift from Lehtonen's return, the club is still dealing with several injuries, most notably on the blue line. Veterans Stephane Robidas (foot) and Sheldon Souray (ankle) figure to miss between 10 to 14 days as they recover from their respective ailments, leaving the Stars not only thin in the back but also on the power play, where both veterans log their share of minutes.

Columbus enters tonight's game riding a six-game winless streak after losing 2-1 to Calgary in a shootout on Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets are also just 3-12-2 on the road this season and have lost their last three games away from home.

The Dallas players are well aware of their next opponent's recent struggles, but also realize those woes mean nothing once the puck is dropped tonight at American Airlines Center.

"Obviously they have struggled the early part of the year. It's a team you can't take lightly," Stars third-line center Vernon Fiddler said. "They have talent over there that can bite you if you don't take care of things."

These teams have already faced each other twice this season, with Dallas taking both meetings. The Stars defeated the Jackets 4-2 at home on Oct. 15 and delivered a 3-2 win at Columbus just three days later.

Getting those four points was great for his team, but Gulutzan knows those results have little to no bearing on how things could play out tonight.

"We know what we're up against. They've been leading in lots of games late," he said. "They're physical. They're moving. They're healthy. Every game is its own in this League. Just because we won back in October has no merit now. We know we're in for a tough contest."
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Posted On Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 12:40 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lines for Blue Jackets, Stars

Here are the projected lineups for tonight's Columbus Blue Jackets/Dallas Stars game at American Airlines Center. Both teams head into this game off losses. Columbus fell 2-1 to Calgary in a shootout on Tuesday on home ice while Dallas lost 5-3 at St. Louis on Monday night. The Jackets are just 3-12-2 on the road while the Stars are 11-5-1 on home ice.

BLUE JACKETS

Rick Nash - Jeff Carter - Ryan Johansen
Vinny Prospal - Antoine Vermette - Mark Letestu
RJ Umberger - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Derick Brassard - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin
John Moore - James Wisniewski
Marc Methot - Grant Clitsome

Steve Mason
Curtis Sanford

Scratches: Dane Byers, Aaron Johnson

Injuries: Kristian Huselius (lower body), Radek Martinek (concussion).

Notes: The Blue Jackets are 0-5-1 in their last six games. Columbus' last win came on Dec. 13, a 2-1 decision over defending Western Conference champion Vancouver. Tuesday's loss marked the eighth time this season that the Jackets have failed to hold a lead after two periods.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratch: Jake Dowell.

Injuries: Stephane Robidas (foot), Sheldon Souray (ankle), Tomas Vincour (MCL).

Notes: Lehtonen, who has missed the last 12 games with a groin injury, makes his first start since Nov. 26 at Phoenix, when he suffered that injury. He is 13-4-1 with a 2.34 goals-against-average in 19 starts this year. Ryder has a six-game point streak (5-3-8) while Ribeiro has at least a point in six of the last seven contests. Dallas is 2-0-0 against Columbus this season, beating them 4-2 at home on Oct. 15 and prevailing 3-2 in the Ohio capital three days later on Oct. 18.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flyers, Stars

Here are how the lineups could look tonight when the Dallas Stars host the Philadelphia Flyers at American Airlines Center:

FLYERS
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
James Van Riemsdyk - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Tom Sestito - Maxime Talbot - Wayne Simmonds
Harry Zolnierczyk - Matt Read - Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros - Matt Carle
Andreas Lilja - Marc-Andre Bourdon

Sergei Bobrovsky
Ilya Bryzgalov

Scratches: Erik Gustafsson, Ben Holmstrom, Jody Shelley, Matt Walker.

Injuries: Blair Betts (knee), Sean Couturier (head), Chris Pronger (concussion).

Notes: Lilja is poised to return after a 10-game absence due to a high ankle sprain. He last played on Nov. 25 against Montreal. Bobrovsky will start in goal tonight, his 13th game of the season. He last appeared between the pipes for the Flyers in mop-up duty against Boston on Saturday. Bobrovsky's last start was Dec. 15 at Montreal, a game Philadelphia won 4-3. Bobrovsky is 6-2-1 this season with a goals-against-average of 2.72.

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Alex Goligoski - Mark Fistric

Richard Bachman
Andrew Raycroft

Scratches: Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.

Injuries: Philip Larsen (quad contusion), Kari Lehtonen (groin), Tomas Vincour (MCL).

Notes: Robidas will be a game-time decision after taking a puck to the skate during morning skate. If Robidas is unable to go, Pardy will step into the defensive rotation, likely alongside Souray, Robidas' normal D partner. Bachman (4-1-0, 2.25) will make his sixth straight start between the pipes for Dallas. Tonight's contest is the second of a three-game homestand for Dallas.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 1:38 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flyers' Giroux will be game-time decision

DALLAS -- Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux, who has missed the last four games with a concussion, will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars.

Giroux, who is currently tied for the NHL lead in points (16-23-39), last played on Dec. 10 against Tampa Bay, contributing a pair of assists in a 5-2 win over the Lightning.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said that he didn't know whether or not the center of his top line would be available for tonight's contest at American Airlines Center.

Philadelphia did not have a morning skate with an early start time due to the game being nationally televised on Versus, but Giroux was one of five Flyers to skate after a short team meeting in their locker room.

Should he make his return tonight in the Lone Star State, one of his teammates who would be the happiest to see him back is linemate Jaromir Jagr.

"Not only he is a great player, we don't have that many centermen left," Jagr said. "We have guys playing out of position, guys that have never played centerman playing there. I think that's the worst [part of it]. If maybe we had other centermen to replace him, maybe it's not the same, but it's a lot better than if you have to move guys around to play center. That's what we've got right now, and it's kind of tough.”

Philadelphia will hit the ice tonight on a two-game winless streak, which comes on the heels of their seven-game winning streak that ended with a 6-0 home loss to Boston on Saturday night. The Flyers are currently the best road team in the league with a 12-3-2 record.

One sign that Giroux could be returning tonight is that Ben Holmstrom, who has been centering the Flyers' fourth line, was one of the five players skating after the team meeting. If Holmstrom is scratched, that would likely mean Giroux is back to center the top line, which would likely shift Danny Briere to the second line, Maxime Talbot to the third and Matt Read to center the fourth.
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Posted On Monday, 12.19.2011 / 1:46 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Anaheim Ducks visit the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center:

DUCKS
Niklas Hagman - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Bobby Ryan - Teemu Selanne
Andrew Gordon - Nick Bonino - Kyle Palmieri
Matt Beleskey - Rod Pelley - George Parros

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Toni Lydman - Lubomir Visnovsky
Luca Sbisa - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Dan Ellis

Scratch: Nate Guenin

Injuries: Jason Blake (forearm), Saku Koivu (groin).

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Alex Goligoski - Mark Fistric

Richard Bachman
Andrew Raycroft

Scratch: Adam Pardy

Injuries: Adam Burish (broken hand), Philip Larsen (quad contusion), Kari Lehtonen (groin), Tomas Vincour (MCL).

Notes: Tonight will mark the fifth straight start for Richard Bachman in goal for Dallas. He is 3-1-0 with a 2.08 goals-against average and one shutout. The Stars begin a run of seven of their next nine at home with Monday's game against the Ducks.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:59 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars hope to keep rolling agianst speedy Islanders

DALLAS -- It has already been a successful week for the Dallas Stars. On Monday, Dallas handed Colorado a 3-1 defeat at Pepsi Center, a building where the Stars have struggled in recent years. Three days later the Stars beat Ottawa, 3-2, in overtime for a second straight win.
   
In the victory against the Senators, Dallas got the game-winner from Eric Nystrom in the third period. Another big story in the win for the Stars was their power play converted an opportunity for the first time in 22 chances when Steve Ott scored in the first period.

While the Stars have struggled on the power play, they have been pretty adept at killing penalties of late, allowing just one power play goal in their last six games, killing off 17 of 18 chances in that stretch (94.4 percent).
   
Dallas (15-9-1, 31 points) will look to make it three in a row against the New York Islanders (7-11-5, 19 points) tonight at American Airlines Center, their last game at home before they head out on a five-game road trip next week.

“It’s good to try to leave with a win and have that good feeling of having the wind at your back, especially when you’re going on the road,” Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman said. “The main thing for us is to put a good 60 minutes together. If we can do that, the score will take care of itself. We’ve just got to play hard. That’s the main thing for us.”

The Islanders have gotten points in their last three contests, going 2-0-1 in that stretch. This will be the second game in a back-to-back after they fell 5-4 at Chicago in a shootout Friday night.
   
Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan saw that loss to the Blackhawks and knows that like recent foes Edmonton and Ottawa, New York promises to deliver a game with plenty of speed.

“What a collection of guys that can really hurt you – we saw the talent a little bit on display last night, some great individual efforts. We thought that they controlled the pace against Chicago, who is one of the pacier teams and they were pretty good,” Gulutzan said. “We’ve got to be ready for that pace and we’ve got to make sure we’re hard on these young guys with the skills they do possess for sure.”
   
Grossman is one of the Stars’ defensemen who will be asked to help neutralize the young, speedy Islanders.

“The games I’ve watched, they’re a pacey team. They’ve got a lot of skill up front,” he said. “We’ve just got to be ready for that. It’s another important game for us. We’ve had a couple of good games lately but we always want to keep building and getting better. We’ve got to come out and play hard. We expect a hard game because these guys are hungry. It will be a tough game.”
   
Dallas will again be without defensemen Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski, along with captain Brenden Morrow. However, their coach did offer some encouraging news prior to the start of what will be a crucial road trip for his club.
   
“We’re going to be very close but on the road trip, we will have [Goligoski], Daley and Morrow back at some point on the road,” Gulutzan said. “Morrow and Daley are probables for Thursday [at San Jose], so that will be good news.”
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:21 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Islanders, Stars

Here’s a look at the projected lineups for the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars for their contest Saturday night at American Airlines Center:

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - P.A. Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
David Ullstrom - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Dylan Reese - Travis Hamonic
Milan Jurcina - Mike Mottau

Al Montoya (starter)
Rick DiPietro

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Mike Ribeiro - Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Nicklas Grossman - Adam Pardy
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen

Andrew Raycroft (starter)
Richard Bachman

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Posted On Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 12:50 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Senators, Stars

Here are how the lineups could look tonight when the Dallas Stars host the Ottawa Senators at the American Airlines Center:

SENATORS

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Nikita Filatov
Milan Michalek - Nick Foligno - Daniel Alfredsson
Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra
Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Bobby Butler

Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Brian Lee - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad

Craig Anderson
Alex Auld

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Mike Ribeiro - Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krys Barch - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Nicklas Grossman - Adam Pardy
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen

Andrew Raycroft
Richard Bachman




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Posted On Friday, 11.25.2011 / 12:52 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Maple Leafs, Stars

These are how the lines could look when the Dallas Stars face the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the American Airlines Center:

MAPLE LEAFS
Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Tim Connolly - Nikolai Kulemin
Matt Frattin - Joe Colborne - Joey Crabb
Jay Rosehill - David Steckel - Philippe Dupuis

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
John-Michael Liles - Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn

Jonas Gustavsson
Ben Scrivens

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Mike Ribeiro - Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric- Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft



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Posted On Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 1:08 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Kings, Stars

Here are the projected lineups for the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars for their matchup at American Airlines Center:

KINGS

Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Andrei Loktionov - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Ethan Moreau - Colin Fraser - Kevin Westgarth

Jack Johnson - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Rob Scuderi - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
 
STARS
  
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Mike Ribeiro - Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen
Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 1:06 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars without Morrow due to 'upper-body issue'

DALLAS -- As the Dallas Stars look to build on a 3-1 home win over Edmonton on Monday night, they will face the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night without a fixture in their lineup, captain Brenden Morrow.

The Stars' mainstay suffered an upper-body injury in the win over the Oilers and after leaving the ice for part of the game, returned to finish the contest. But he wasn't on the ice for a morning skate on Wednesday and has been ruled out for tonight's game.

"In the first period of the Edmonton game, he came off for a bit and then he came and finished the game. He's got a little upper-body issue here," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We don't think he’ll be too long but he’s not going to be available for tonight."

With Morrow out, that means Steve Ott will move to the left side of the second line, a trio centered by Mike Ribeiro and featuring rookie Tomas Vincour on the right. Vincour was recently called up from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, where he had 13 points (10-3-13) in 15 games for Dallas' top minor-league affiliate.

The Czech-born forward saw the ice in 24 games last season for the Stars, but Monday's game against Edmonton marked his first NHL action of this season. Moving to Dallas' No. 2 line represents a big opportunity for the versatile 21-year-old.

"Yeah, if I was Tomas, I'd like it. Yeah, it's a real good opportunity for him," Gulutzan said. "We're not putting heavy pressure on him. We want him to play hard, be sound defensively and use his size and frame down low to create some chances."

After skating on Dallas' fourth line two nights again against Edmonton, the talented young Czech is now looking forward to seeing some ice time alongside Ott and Ribeiro.

"Yeah, it's exciting," Vincour said. "I'm really looking forward to the game tonight and playing with those two guys. At the same time, I need to play my game. I have to do that early job for them, just work hard and did what I did in the first game."

But Vincour won't be the only rookie to see the ice tonight. Defenseman Philip Larsen, who was a teammate of his in the AHL earlier this year, figures to play a second straight game at the blue line paired alongside Mark Fistric.

The Stars will be facing a Los Angeles team that is 2-0-0 against them already this season. The Kings come off a 3-2 win at St. Louis on Tuesday night. Terry Murray's club is currently being led on the offensive end by Anze Kopitar (10-14-24) and newcomer Mike Richards (9-9-18), who has 16 points in his last 18 contests.

Richards is definitely one player the Stars will have to be aware of if they are to beat the Kings for the first time this season tonight in Dallas.

"There is one guy we did watch. We know that he was 15-for-16 on the draws last night. We've got to be good in the circle against them," Gulutzan said. "When he PKs, he'll try to score and he's smart. He's a key guy and then their big line there with [Anze] Koptar. We'll have our hands full but we're ready to go."
 
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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 4:02 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars prepare for first look at Nugent-Hopkins

DALLAS -- It's a big day in Dallas on several fronts. For one, the Dallas Stars officially introduced Tom Gaglardi as the franchise's new owner. But tonight will also mark the first visit of Edmonton Oilers phenom Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to American Airlines Center.

Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 pick in June's NHL Draft, currently leads all rookies with 19 points (7-12-19) and comes off a 5-assist performance in an impressive 9-2 win over Chicago on Saturday night in Edmonton.

In short, he's but one player the Stars need to be aware of in tonight's game, in which Dallas looks to snap a five-game losing streak.

"He's very good. He's quick, slippery and he's certainly a guy we've got to prepare for tonight," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We've got to play him hard and make sure we're defensively sound against those guys."

Two Dallas defensemen who figure to see their share of ice time opposite the talented young Oiler tonight also know what a complete skill set Nugent-Hopkins will bring into this Western Conference matchup.

"He's a heck of a player. For a young guy to break into the League as quick as he has and be as good as he has, it's pretty impressive," Stars blueliner Nicklas Grossman said. "It's not an everyday thing to see guys do. We've got to be aware when he's on the ice. He's got tons of skill out there, so you've just got to be on the defensive side of things, move your feet to keep up with him and play him hard like everyone else."

Stephane Robidas, the most veteran member of the Dallas blue line, agrees that Nugent-Hopkins brings much to the table, but by no means is he the only Oiler he and his teammates have to be aware of every time they hit the ice.

"He looks like he's got really good skills. He's a tall, skinny guy, but he looks like he sees the ice very well, can make plays. You don't go first overall without having good quality. I think he's shown that," Robidas said. "They've got a really good team. They've got good goaltending. We have to be ready. It's not the same Edmonton that we've played a year or two years ago. They've improved their team a lot and are up and coming. We have to be ready for that challenge."

Besides the start of the Gaglardi era and the Stars looking to end their current skid, one interesting side story from the Dallas room is that of veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray, who joined the team during the offseason.

This will be Souray's first game against Edmonton since he last played for them in the 2009-10 season. But when asked whether that adds any extra spice or sizzle to tonight's matchup, he stated in plain and simple terms it will not.

"It's just a regular game day. It's a big game for us. We need the points. We're in a little of a tailspin here," Souray said. "It's really no big deal. Edmonton's not the first team I played for and it's been a couple of years since I played there. It's really just another game for us. It's been a while since I was an Oiler. I'm just really trying to focus on tonight."

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Posted On Monday, 11.21.2011 / 1:06 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Oilers, Stars

Here are how the lines could look tonight when the Edmonton Oilers play the Dallas Stars:

OILERS

Ryan Smyth - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Taylor Hall - Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Jones
Magnus Paajarvi - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky
Anton Lander - Eric Belanger - Ben Eager

Ladislav Smid - Tom Gilbert
Theo Peckham - Jeff Petry
Colten Teubert - Taylor Chorney

Nikolai Khabibulin
Devan Dubnyk

STARS
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Tom Wandell - Tomas Vincour

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 3:28 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Stars

Here are the projected lineups for the Sharks and Stars for their contest Saturday night in Dallas:

SAN JOSE

Logan Couture - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryan Clowe - Patrick Marleau - Martin Havlat
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Andrew Murray - Andrew Desjardins - Brad Winchester

Douglas Murray - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Colin White - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

DALLAS

Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krys Barch - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric - Adam Pardy

Andrew Raycroft
Kari Lehtonen
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 3:23 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars search for scoring tough against Sharks

FRISCO, Texas – It has been 147:19 since the Dallas Stars last found the back of the net, a second-period tally by captain Brenden Morrow at 12:11 of the second period in a 5-2 loss at Detroit seven days ago.
   
In the two games since their last tally, the Stars have been outscored by a combined 9-0, including a 6-0 loss Tuesday to Florida at American Airlines Center and a 3-0 blanking Friday against Colorado at the Pepsi Center, a setback which ran the current Dallas losing streak to four games.
   
But the Stars get little time to regroup as tonight they will host Pacific Division rival San Jose, a team that hasn’t played since Thursday night, when they handed the Red Wings a 5-2 defeat at HP Pavilion.
   
And to put their run of current consecutive games without a goal in proper perspective, some 961 games have passed since the last time it happened to Dallas. That was in January 1999, a team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup just a few months later.
   
Dallas head coach Glen Gulutzan is clearly concerned about his club’s current lack of scoring but admits he is adhering to a simple approach to make that lack of offensive punch a thing of the past.
   
“Keep going to the net. Keep putting pucks on net,” Gulutzan said. “It happens but we do need to shoot the puck more. We got outplayed a little bit [against Colorado]. We got outchanced.”
   
One change the Stars will make for tonight will be in goal where backup netminder Andrew Raycroft will get the start in place of Kari Lehtonen. Raycroft is 0-3-0 this season. His three starts have all come in the final game of back-to-backs and have all been on the road.

   
Dating back to last season, he has lost nine straight starts. His last win for Dallas came Jan. 9, 2011 at Minnesota and his last home win was on Dec. 10, 2010 against Carolina. Still, the Stars feel good about putting him in against the Sharks, possibly as a way to turn things around.
   
“Yeah, [Raycroft]’s going tonight. That kind of was our plan,” Gulutzan said. “We talked about it on the way home. We think with our schedule it’s probably the right call. He hasn’t had a home game since I don’t know when. It’ll be good to get him on the ice at home and turn this thing around.”

Besides their current lack of scoring, another area of fairly big concern for the Stars is the huge differential between how many penalties Dallas has been committing compared to how many they’ve been drawing during their current four-game losing skid.
   
During this stretch, the Stars have put the opposition on the power play 18 times while they’ve had the man advantage only six times in the last four contests, a trend that their head coach defensively doesn’t want to see continue heading forward.
   
“Just the differential is a little bit of a concern. I think it is a byproduct of we’ve been outworked the last four, five games and then you end up taking penalties,” Gulutzan said.

Contrast Dallas’ current offensive woes with how the Sharks have been playing in their last six games, where they are 4-1-1. San Jose is averaging three goals per game during that span and has netted at least four goals in half of those contests, including five just two days ago in their win against the Red Wings.
   
And it’s the Sharks’ top two lines that the Stars will have to mostly concern themselves with. Their top trio of Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski lead the way with 45 points but the second line of Ryan Clowe, Patrick Marleau and newcomer Martin Havlat, a group that has 34 points, has also made their share of contributions.
   
Gulutzan plans to match up his second line of Jamie Benn, Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson against the Sharks’ top group as a way to minimize how much damage they can do.

“Those elite players create challenges for you every night and they’re big,” he said. “Joe [Thornton]’s big. I think tonight [Benn] will match up there. It’s going to be a good test for him and [Ott]. It’ll be a good game for them.”
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 1:55 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Productivity from blue line huge for Panthers

DALLAS -- As the Florida Panthers get set to face the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, one of the big storylines for Kevin Dineen's club in tonight's matchup could be how much production the Panthers get from the blue line.

That's because through its first 17 games, Florida has gotten 48 points from its defensemen. Brian Campbell leads the way with 16 points and currently leads the team with 15 assists, but Dmitry Kulikov has also done his part with his 12 helpers, second on the club.

"Yeah, that's something that we pride ourselves on. The League is a very hard-working, defensive league. It's hard to score goals," Dineen said. "We have to have more than one layer to have success. And certainly our D has been very productive not just on the score sheet but keeping us in the offensive zone. They've done a good job."

Panthers winger Kris Versteeg, who currently leads the team with 8 goals, has definitely noticed a huge positive difference with the likes of Campbell and Kulikov contributing on both ends of the ice.

"They make a lot of great plays on power plays and on 5-on-5 they make it easy on everyone coming up the ice. They can make a difficult pass at times and they can make a simple pass at times, too," Versteeg said. "They've been big for us. We're going to need their success going forward for us to be successful."

And it never hurts getting such solid production from the back end, especially from the perspective that it takes some pressure off the offensive guys to produce more.

"It definitely helps," Versteeg said. "Our defense is a big part of this team. Whether it's from the offensive and defensive perspective, we've got a really solid D core."

Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan is well aware of the considerable impact that Campbell, Kulikov and the rest of the Florida rearguard could have on tonight's contest and expects his Stars to be ready to handle such a challenge.

"Those guys just give them such a dynamic," Gulutzan said. "They can move up on the play. They're not afraid to involve themselves on the rush. They can improvise pretty well and make plays. They can ramp up the pace a little bit and can go."

But the Stars coach offered a simple solution when asked how they can help minimize the damage Florida can do from the blue line tonight.

"We're going to have to be making sure we play a little bit of a grinding game, a little harder on those guys so they're not up on the play all the time," Gulutzan said. "We're going to have to be wary of those guys. I know how they play. They're going to play hard."

Florida heads into tonight's game after a 3-2 home loss to the Flyers on Sunday. And considering the Panthers are 6-3-0 on the road this year, tying them with several other clubs for most road victories in the league, getting away from home is never a bad thing.

Dineen even offered a lighthearted take on why his team has been so much better on the road than at home so far this year.

"I think undercoaching [has been the difference]," Dineen said. "You get home and you start matching lines. You get on the road, we roll them and that seems to help. That's something that we talked about at the beginning of the year that we wanted to have a solid road record. We've met a few tests but tonight will be a great one for us."
   
   
   
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 1:35 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars look to right ship at home vs. Panthers

DALLAS -- After ending last week's road trip with back-to-back losses, the Dallas Stars return to the ice tonight looking to return to the win column against the Florida Panthers at the American Airlines Center, a building they are 6-1-0 in so far this season.

However, the Stars (11-5-0), who continue to lead the Pacific Division with 22 points, will be without gritty center Steve Ott, who continues to be bothered by a hip pointer and will miss a sixth consecutive game.

Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan had termed Ott a game-time decision after practice on Monday, but after the morning skate, it was clear he wouldn't play.

"Otter's not going tonight. He'll be ready for Friday," Gulutzan said. "He's pleading his case to go tonight but it's better for us long-term than to rush him back when he's about 85 percent."

In his absence, Adam Burish will continue to skate on the Stars' second line alongside captain Brenden Morrow and center Mike Ribeiro, a role he has held since Ott last played Oct. 29 against the Devils.

The Stars have won two straight at home this season and have fallen only once in their own arena, a 5-3 loss to the Kings back on Oct. 27. And given they come off consecutive road losses to the Red Wings and Penguins, it's definitely good to be back on their home ice.

"That road trip started off real good and then, the last two games didn't go our way. It's always good to get back here and get settled," Gulutzan said. "It was good that we had the Sunday off when we came back. I think we had a good day off and a good practice yesterday and we're ready to go here tonight."

Florida comes into this one off a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday night and the Panthers are just 2-2-3 at home so far this season. But on the road, it's a different story, as Kevin Dineen's club is 6-3-0, tying them for most road wins in the League.

Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman sees a much improved Florida team and expects a real battle tonight in the Lone Star State.

"I think like every game, it's going to be a tough game. They're looking real good this year, especially with the new additions they made on the back there and the recent trade they had," Grossman said. "They have a good team, no question about it. They've got lots of speed, lots of skill guys. We've got to expect a hungry team coming in, so we've got to be ready."

Tonight's game will be the first for Stars third-line winger Radek Dvorak since coming over from Florida in the offseason. The veteran forward did say it might be a bit weird to face one of his former clubs, but added his focus is where it needs to be.

"It's just another game for us. Obviously, I spent a lot of time in Florida but the most important thing is we have to be sure we go about our game tonight no matter who we play," Dvorak said. "We just need a couple of points tonight and we have to do our best to achieve that."
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Posted On Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 12:58 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Panthers, Stars

Here are what the lineups could look like when the Stars and Panthers play tonight in Dallas:

PANTHERS
Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Evgeny Dadonov - Mike Santorelli - Tomas Kopecky
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Marco Sturm
Tim Kennedy - Shawn Matthias - Matt Bradley

Erik Gudbranson - Ed Jovanovski
Brian Campbell - Jason Garrison
Mike Weaver - Dmitry Kulikov

Scott Clemmensen will make his season debut in goal tonight, with Jose Theodore the backup.

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krystofer Barch - Jake Dowell - Toby Petersen

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Adam Pardy - Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal, with Andrew Raycroft the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Avalanche, Stars

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Colorado Avalanche visit the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center:

AVALANCHE
Matt Duchene - Paul Stastny - Milan Hejduk
Joakim Lindstrom - TJ Galiardi - David Jones
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Daniel Winnik
Cody McLeod - Jay McClement - Kevin Porter

Kyle Quincey - Shane O'Brien
Erik Johnson - Ryan Wilson
Ryan O'Byrne - Jan Hejda

Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Adam Buish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krystofer Barch - Jake Dowell - Toby Petersen

Alex Goligoski - Adam Pardy
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft


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Posted On Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 2:15 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars want a win before long break

DALLAS -- After playing host to the New Jersey Devils tonight at American Airlines Center, the Dallas Stars won't hit the ice again for six days when Colorado visits Friday. So, it's imperative that Dallas gets a win on a night where current general manager Joe Nieuwendyk will be honored for his selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
   
"Yeah, that's the key. It's going to be a tough game," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We don't play until Friday, so it would be nice to have a solid effort on Saturday night here with everything finished."
   
Dallas comes into this one on a bit of a down note after losing 5-3 to the Kings on Thursday night, their first home defeat of the year. While the Stars sit at 7-3-0 through 10 games, they would definitely like to bounce back at home.
   
"Looking at the schedule and looking ahead, you don't want to have a week to dwell on a loss that's for sure. It's a good opportunity," Stars defenseman Trevor Daley said. "It'll be fun to see a team you don't see very often. I think we only play them twice this year so this is one of two. I think I've only played against them four or five times in my career, so I'm excited to play against some new faces and see how we do."
   
After the loss to Los Angeles two days ago, Gulutzan held an optional practice Friday in Frisco, Texas. One player who didn't participate was center Steve Ott, currently tied for third on the team with seven points. Ott took a skate to the hip in the loss to the Kings but according to the Stars head coach, he'll be ready to go for tonight's game.
   
"He came out for a bit [this morning]," Gulutzan said. "He's going to be ready gametime. It was good to give him that day after, a day off. He'll be ready for tonight."
   
Tonight marks Dallas' first game against an Eastern Conference foe. The Stars were 11-5-2 against the East last season and split their two games against the Devils, winning 4-3 in overtime on the road in Oct. 2010 while New Jersey won 1-0 at Dallas in February.
   
"We've watched them on this road swing and we know that they work hard. We were quite impressed with them in L.A. and even in Phoenix," Gulutzan said. "They're stingy, they play hard and they have some skilled guys up front who can do some damage. We've got to play a real solid defensive game. Against teams like New Jersey, we've got to make sure we play stingy as well and give ourselves a chance to win."
   
One part of the Dallas game that remains a work in progress is the power play, which is 2-for-15 during the last five games. Despite those numbers, the man in charge feels that unit's performance is definitely on a recent upswing.
   
"I see it moving up. If you want to look short-term, we were 1-for-5 [against L.A. on Thursday], that's 20 percent," Gulutzan said. "That's better. I think we're moving ahead. As long as our record's good, our power play's still a work in progress but we're getting better."
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Posted On Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 2:06 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Devils search for consistency in Dallas

DALLAS -- The New Jersey Devils have been something of a mixed bag during their current road trip, losing both at Pittsburgh and Phoenix but blanking Los Angeles 3-0 at Staples Center on Tuesday night.
   
Tonight, Peter DeBoer's club will look to finish the trip on a high note against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center against a Stars team the Devils split their two games against last season.

"We have an opportunity here on a tough swing and in three tough buildings to take two out of three and that's the goal," DeBoer said. "We would have taken that to start the trip and we have an opportunity to do that, so that's the good news."
   
New Jersey won during their last trip to Dallas, shutting out the Stars 1-0 back on Feb. 22. Past results aside, the Devils know they're in for a tough one tonight in the Lone Star State.
   
"Look at their record, they're a very good team," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. "They play a good team game. They're quick to pucks and they play physical down low. It's a good test for us. They're not where they're at [for no reason], it's not a fluke. They're a good team and we have to be on our game tonight."   
   
A win tonight would give New Jersey a  2-1 record during the Western Conference portion of their current road swing, which would definitely be a nice plus heading into Wednesday's home game against the Maple Leafs at Prudential Center.
   
"It'd be nice for us to finish a tough road trip over .500. We've played three pretty good teams, so if we can kind of correct some stuff we did in Phoenix the other night, we should be a little better. You've almost seen two different teams in LA and in Phoenix," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "Hopefully we can find a little consistency and clean up some different areas."
   
Greene agrees that finding some consistency tonight in Dallas would be a huge step in the right direction for the Devils.
   
"We had one good game and one bad game [on this portion of the trip]," he said. "If we can come out tonight with a real good effort and do things right, it'll be a good road trip. For the most part, when you do the right things, you're going to win the games. That's what we have to do, continue to do that tonight and end this road trip good."
   
For at least one regular contributor, the results so far on this trip have been a bit perplexing to say the least.
   
"I'd say more puzzling than anything," Parise said. "In some games, we do everything right-we break out well, we forecheck the right way and then sometimes for whatever reason, if things aren't going right, we get a little frustrated and a little overaggressive and you get picked apart like we did in Phoenix. A lot of times we got beat, all three guys, by one pass and that can't happen in this league. That's something we've got to be a little better at tonight."
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Posted On Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 12:48 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Dallas, New Jersey

Here is the projected lineup for the Dallas Stars as they face the New Jersey Devils at American Airlines Center on Saturday night. A win or an overtime/shootout loss will keep Dallas in first place in the Western Conference:
 
DALLAS

Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krys Barch - James Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Adam Pardy - Alex Goligoski
Nick Grossman - Trevor Daley

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft

NEW JERSEY

Ilya Kovalchuk - Zach Parise - David Clarkson
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Danius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Adam Henrique - Nick Palmieri
Brad Mills - Ryan Carter - Cam Janssen

Henrik Tallender - Adam Larsson
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Johan Hedberg
Keith Kinkaid


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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:09 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Doughty won't return to lineup against Stars

DALLAS -- The return of standout Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will be at least one more game away. The 21-year-old blueliner won't play tonight against Dallas at the American Airlines Center, the fifth straight game he will miss with an upper-body injury.

"No, he's not cleared to play. He's cleared to practice. He was cleared to practice, full contact in practice by the doctor last game," Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. "So he's getting close, getting better. He's out on the ice. He's doing everything now. We’ll get through one more game here without him and hopefully we can make a decision after that."

With Doughty unavailable for tonight, the Kings will likely go with rookie Slava Voynov alongside veteran blueliner Willie Mitchell.

But with Los Angeles currently tied with Winnipeg for the third-fewest goals scored in the League at 14 and heading into tonight's game having scored just three goals in its last three games, Murray will make one change to his lineup designed to energize its attack.

"We're going to get [Scott] Parse in. The offensive part of the game is something we want to get better at. We need better numbers," Murray said. "We're like third lowest in the League right now in the offensive category and we have to get some scoring. Parse is a player that we've often talked about as to why he's with us. He's an offensive, creative thinker. He can score some goals. I think he's getting through his offseason surgery and becoming a healthier player every day. He seems to be skating with more of a purpose out there in practice. I want to get him in and see if he can contribute on that offensive part of the game."

So far this season, the Kings are 2-0-1 on the road and in 2009-10, were 24-14-3, the second-best road mark in the NHL. It's clear their coach considers getting favorable results away from the Staples Center a top priority.

"We're a comfortable team on the road. We feel we can play well in any building in the League," Murray said. "We just rely on our structure and our system."

Tonight, his Kings will face a Stars team they beat in Los Angeles 1-0 on Saturday night. But Dallas is a perfect 4-0-0 at the American Airlines Center this season and 7-2-0 overall under new coach Glen Gulutzan.

Murray sees several reasons why the Stars have gotten off to such a solid start under their new man behind the bench.

"I'm seeing Dallas a little more on the defensive part of the game right now," Murray said. "I thought their game last year offensively was pretty effective. They do some nice things in the offensive zone-changing the point of attack but they have a bigger focus on the checking part. We did see that our last time in here last year and it's been a follow through on it. Their awareness without the puck is greater. They're recovering more of those pucks and getting back on the counterattack because of it."
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 1:09 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Stars, Kings

Here's what the lineups could look like when the Stars and Kings take the ice tonight in Dallas:

STARS
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Adam Pardy
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman

Kari Lehtonen will start in net, backed up by Andrew Raycroft.

KINGS
Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Ethan Moreau - Jarret Stoll - Brad Richardson
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Scott Parse

Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Rob Scuderi - Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick will be back in goal, with Jonathan Bernier serving as the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 1:00 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars relishing another shot at Kings

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars (7-2-0, 14 points) and Los Angeles Kings (5-2-1, 11 points) met on Saturday night at the Staples Center, it was the Kings who came away with a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal by Jack Johnson with just under five minutes remaining.

Even though the Stars came up on the short end of the stick that night in Los Angeles, first-year coach Glen Gulutzan and his players agree that was one of their best games on the young season.

In fact, that defeat was the lone blemish on a four-game road trip that saw the Stars finish at 3-1 with wins over the Blue Jackets, Ducks and Coyotes.

Considering how close the last meeting was with the Kings, there isn’t much Gulutzan would change heading into tonight's rematch at the American Airlines Center.

"No, not really," Gulutzan said. "They got a few faceoff plays. They ran on us and we have to be a little bit more aware of those and how we're going to defend those. They're so stingy. They've got good goaltending. They're a well-balanced group. They're structured. I think we just want to get into that same type of game that we were in Saturday night and hope for a different result."

In the last meeting between these two clubs, Dallas actually outshot the Kings, something they've done in only three of their first nine games this year and both teams were just 0-for-1 on the power play.

But it was Johnson's goal at 15:02 of the final frame that was the deciding blow in a close win for the home team. And while the Stars players are pleased with their effort just five days ago on the road, they also want another shot at Los Angeles, this time on their home ice.

"Yeah, I think it's a big test for us," Dallas defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "The last game we played on Saturday against these guys, we played well, maybe our best game of the year and we didn't get the win. To come right back and get a chance is a good test for our hockey club, a good test for our character. LA's the best team we've seen so far and we have to be at our best to have a chance against them."

Stars center Mike Ribeiro, who is currently second on the team with 7 points, agrees their last game against the Kings was one of their better efforts of the year. It's a performance he'd like to see replicated tonight in the Lone Star State.

"Yeah, we played good out there, a pretty intense game, probably our best game of the year," Ribeiro said. "We went at them but couldn't score. I think it was a really intense, physical and really good game to be part of. We'll come back and battle the same way."

Heading into tonight's contest, Dallas is a perfect 4-0-0 to start the season at home and the Stars are one of three NHL clubs that have yet to lose in their own building. The last time Dallas started the year 4-0-0 at home was in 1998-99, when it won the Stanley Cup.
   
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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 3:29 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars look to get power play going vs. Blues

Through their first three games of the 2011 season, the Dallas Stars are just 1-for-14 on the power play, including 0-for-7 with the man-advantage in their most recent game, a 2-1 shootout win against Phoenix on Monday.

Facing the St. Louis Blues tonight, however, could be just the shot in the arm that Stars unit needs. That’s because through their first two games, the Blues are 29th on the PK, having allowed three goals in seven shorthanded situations (57.1 percent).

However, two members of that unit don't feel the Blues' early man-down struggles dictate that the Dallas power play will be rolling tonight.

"To me, it's too early to say," Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "We've just got to look at ourselves and what we do right. We'll look at what they do on their PK. Teams kill penalties different ways. It's always like a chess match. They might change their PK based on what we're doing. That's why you have to have a plan and be ready for anything."

Stars center Mike Ribeiro sees the cure to his club's early struggles on the power play as having a relatively simple solution.

"We know we have the skills to do it. We just have to put the work into it," Ribeiro said. "We just need to settle down a little bit, come out with a good breakout with good speed and throw pucks at the net. We know what we have to do but it’s only three games."
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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 3:18 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Blues, Stars

Here is what the lineups for the Blues and Stars would look like when the teams meet in Dallas tonight:

BLUES
Andy McDonald - David Backes - Jamie Langenbrunner
T.J. Oshie - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Alexander Steen - Jason Arnott - Matt D'Agostini
Vladimir Sobotka - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Kent Huskins - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Nikita Nikitin - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak will start in goal, with Brian Elliott serving as the backup.

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Adam Burish - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Toby Petersen - Krystofer Barch

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Mark Fistric - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal, with Andrew Raycroft the backup.


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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 11:57 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Stars, Coyotes

Due to their earlier-than-usual start time today in Dallas (6 p.m. ET), neither the Stars nor the Coyotes skated this morning. So here's the best approximation of what their lineups could look like when they hit the ice today.
 
COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Petteri Nokelainen

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla - Derek Morris
Michal Rozsival - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

This game could mark the season debut of Jason LaBarbera -- and his new military appreciation helmet. Mike Smith would then serve as the backup.

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Tomas Vincour
Steve Ott - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Tom Wandell - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Stephane Robidas - Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley - Sheldon Souray
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal, with Andrew Raycroft as the backup.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:37 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Expected lineups for Stars, Blackhawks today

The Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars will open their seasons today at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. Based on this morning's practices, here are the expected forward lines and defense pairings for each team:

BLACKHAWKS
Brandon Saad-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Sharp
Andrew Brunette-Patrick Kane-Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell-Brandon Pirri-Michael Frolik
Jamal Mayers-Rostislav Olesz
 
Duncan Keith-Nick Leddy
Niklas Hjalmarsson-Brent Seabrook
Sean O'Donnell-Sami Lepisto
Steve Montador
 
Corey Crawford will start in goal, with Ray Emery the backup

STARS
Michael Ryder-Mike Ribeiro-Brenden Morrow
Loui Eriksson-Jamie Benn-Tomas Vincour
Steve Ott-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell-Tom Wandell-Toby Petersen
 
Stephane Robidas-Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley-Sheldon Souray
Mark Fistric-Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal, with Andrew Raycroft serving as the backup.
 
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Quote of the Day

We want to make sure that whoever makes our team really makes our team by earning it and not putting them in situations where they get preference because of their status as a first-round pick or whatever it might be. That's not going to happen. Everybody has to earn their way on our team.

— Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen on the team's prospects at development camp