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Posted On Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 2:25 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Stars

DALLAS -- With the Dallas Stars power play 0-for-14 over the past three games, coach Lindy Ruff tweaked his top unit by putting Antoine Roussel in to generate more presence in front of the opposing net on Thursday against the Nashville Predators at American Airlines Center.

"Well, we're looking for more net front, somebody around. We got to get somebody inside," Ruff said after the morning skate. "We need somebody that's willing to really take one for the team; stay in there, hunker down. We've got some good shooters. We need a guy that can take the goalie's eyes away. If he can't see it, he can't control rebounds."

It's a new role which Roussel, who is tied for third on Dallas with four goals, is embracing.

"I am just trying to help the team and be in front of the net. I've been in front of most of the net 5-on-5, so maybe it will be easier to get to the net on the power play," Roussel said. "I am going to try to help out the boys and do my best."

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 2:39 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Stars

DALLAS -- The Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars find themselves in somewhat unfamiliar situations as they prepare to square off Tuesday at American Airlines Center.

The Kings (0-3-1) and Stars (0-2-2) are each riding four-game winless streaks, a trend each coach would like to quickly reverse.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter, whose team heads into the final game of a five-game road trip, isn't terribly unhappy with how the Kings have played thus far on the trip.

"We've played really well on the road. Other than for a few minutes in Detroit, we played really well," Sutter said. "We probably played better in a couple of these games than we did in our miraculous homestand that everybody talked about."

Dallas hasn't won since Oct. 24 at the New Jersey Devils, a 3-2 shootout victory. But the Stars, who are 1-0-4 at American Airlines Center, haven't won on home ice since a 6-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 21. And even with their current struggles, Stars coach Lindy Ruff knows he has a tough draw in the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

"Well, we had tough matchups last year," Ruff said. "We played well against them. Obviously a big, heavy team that we're going to have to compete hard around the puck."

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Posted On Friday, 10.31.2014 / 2:09 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Ducks at Stars

DALLAS -- The Anaheim Ducks and the Dallas Stars will play Friday for the first time since the Ducks eliminated the Stars in six games in their Western Conference First Round series in April.

The Ducks are a different team than last spring, most notably with the acquisition of center Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks for Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa.

"I don't think we're better than we were last year at the end of the year right now," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said prior to Anaheim's optional morning skate. "I think we've got the capability of being better, but right now I don't think we're better. The only aspect of our game that is probably other than Game One that has been outstanding is goaltending. Everybody else has had peaks and valleys, good games and bad games. The consistency just hasn't been there yet."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 2:30 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Stars

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues renew their Central Division rivalry Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

And after the Stars lost 7-5 at the New York Islanders on Saturday night to split a two-game road trip, captain Jamie Benn is glad to be back on home ice, where Dallas is 3-2-0 this season.

"There already is a rivalry between us and St. Louis. We had some big games with them last year. We are just looking to get off to a good start here at home," Benn said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 2:24 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Stars

DALLAS -- When the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars play Tuesday at American Airlines Center, two streaks will be on the line.

Vancouver, which lost 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday at Rogers Arena, looks to remain unbeaten on the road, where the Canucks are 2-0-0 this season.

The Stars, who lost 6-5 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in Dallas, still are seeking their first home win of the season (0-0-2).

Facing Dallas is a homecoming for first-year Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, who spent the past four seasons in the Stars organization, two as an assistant to former coaches Marc Crawford and Glen Gulutzan (now part of his staff in Vancouver), and the past two seasons coaching the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, the 2014 Calder Cup champions.

"Yeah, it's a special game for me. This is a good organization and I know a lot of guys in the organization, so it is a special place," Desjardins said. "So right from the start I knew when this game was going to be."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.18.2014 / 2:50 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Stars

DALLAS -- As the Philadelphia Flyers begin a three-game road trip Saturday at American Airlines Center, Flyers coach Craig Berube has a simple formula to hold the speed-laden Dallas Stars, winners of two straight, in check.

"Our team tonight needs to make them play in their own end. And to do that, we need to shoot the hockey puck. If you make them play facing their net all night, you'll be in better shape," Berube said after the morning skate. "Otherwise, if you want to make plays and turn the puck over, they're gone. They're fast and they've got 'D' that can jump up and play. They're a real good attack team with the speed."

It appears Berube is keeping his lines almost intact from the Flyers 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, but with one exception.

That's where Chris VandeVelde appears to be in line to make his season debut centering a line alongside left wing Zac Rinaldo and right wing Blair Jones.

"I get the call-up and get right in the lineup. It's pretty exciting," VandeVelde, who was recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, said. "I'm excited to get out there."

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Posted On Thursday, 10.09.2014 / 2:36 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Stars

DALLAS -- After playing five games as Central Division foes last season, the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars know each other well. And given their recent history of playing plenty of memorable games, the season opener Thursday at American Airlines Center between them figures to add another chapter to what is a burgeoning rivalry.

"I think we've got similar teams; mobile defense, real good on the offensive end," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after morning skate. "I think they're three lines deep with their offensive talent. They've got a great goaltender. When it comes to speed we're right there with them. When it comes to their offensive creativity I think we're similar and should be a heck of a match."

Chicago heads into the season with most of their roster intact from last season. The Blackhawks did make one notable addition in center Brad Richards, who signed as a free agent in July.

"I think they just got themselves another good offensive player," Ruff said. "It's made them deeper. It's given them a third-line center that has a lot of experience, won a Cup and should help them."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 3:32 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic