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Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 3:02 PM

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

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Stars

DALLAS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars have each recently been playing some great hockey, which makes the game at American Airlines Center on Tuesday between them a must-watch.

Columbus (17-17-3) is 11-2-1 over its past 14 games and the Blue Jackets will get a nice boost as right wing Cam Atkinson, who has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury, and center Mark Letestu, out the past 28 games with a groin/abdominal issue, will both return against the Stars.

"What I'm expecting is those guys to come in and provide a spark; Cam with his speed and energy and Mark, the way he navigates and thinks his way through the game," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "They make our team better at both ends of the rink."

Atkinson will skate on the right side of the second line alongside left wing Matt Calvert and center Brandon Dubinsky. Letestu will center the fourth line, joining left wing Jeremy Morin and right wing Jared Boll.

Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 1:39 PM

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

At the Rink: Wild at Stars

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars had seven defensemen participate in morning skate at American Airlines Center on Saturday, and 30 minutes after skate ended, Dallas added an eighth by claiming David Schlemko off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.

“You can never have enough defensemen,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “We lost (Sergei) Gonchar (to a trade). We lost Kevin Connauton; Patrik Nemeth’s injured. We’ve lost three defensemen during the course of the season, and we needed to add some depth.”

Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 2:04 PM

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

At the Rink: Coyotes at Stars

DALLAS -- The Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars will look to continue their recent form at American Airlines Center on Wednesday.

Arizona (14-18-4) has won three straight and Coyotes coach Dave Tippett has seen plenty to like during this recent stretch.

"That's what we're looking at, just try to continue to play the way we have been," Tippett said. "We've gotten solid goaltending. We've defended pretty well, kept chances and goals-against down, and have given ourselves a chance to win."

Tippett is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairs identical from a 4-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

Posted On Monday, 12.29.2014 / 2:17 PM

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

At the Rink: Rangers at Stars

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are two days removed from their first Central Division victory, 4-3 at the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, but Dallas (15-14-5) faces another tough test at American Airlines Center on Monday against the New York Rangers, winners of eight straight.

"They play a high pace. They play high tempo. They're what we're trying to get to right now. We want to have eight straight too and play at a high pace," Stars defenseman Trevor Daley said. "It's going to be a great challenge tonight for us."

This game features the Rangers (19-10-4), who haven't lost since Dec. 6 at the Detroit Red Wings, and the NHL's top two goal scorers in New York left wing Rick Nash (23 goals, second in the League) and Dallas center Tyler Seguin (leads NHL with 25 goals).

Nash knows that the Rangers must limit the quality chances for Seguin, Stars captain Jamie Benn and veteran center Jason Spezza if they are to extend their winning streak to nine.

"For us it's eliminating our mistakes in the neutral zone and getting pucks deep. This is a team with Benn and Seguin, Spezza. All these guys are pretty big superstars that can score, so we got to limit our turnovers," Nash said.

Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 1:39 PM

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

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Stars

DALLAS -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into American Airlines Center on Tuesday to play the Dallas Stars on a three-game losing streak, but coach Randy Carlyle isn't calling his team desperate in its final game before the Christmas break.

"Desperation can take people out of their confidence, take confidence away," Carlyle said. "We don't want to go into the break with four losses. Who does? Who does in pro sports? We don't want to lose any games, simple as that."

Toronto lost 4-0 at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and Dallas overcame a three-goal deficit in the second period before winning 6-5 at the Edmonton Oilers to cap a perfect road trip through Western Canada at 3-0-0. Even though the Stars have won four straight, coach Lindy Ruff is always alert for signs of a letdown, especially against the struggling Maple Leafs, who remain a potent offensive team.

Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 2:48 PM

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

At the Rink: Jets at Stars

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are 4-0-1 in their past five games at American Airlines Center, but coach Lindy Ruff would like to see them break out for their first Central Division win (0-6-3) Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets.

"Every game's important for us right now," Ruff said after the morning skate. "We took a good step in the right direction again [with a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday]. I think it's just becoming a consistent team where we're not two steps forward and two back. We got to win games. It doesn't matter if it's Central Division. You name it, we have to win games."

Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from the win Saturday against Montreal, a victory which snapped a three-game losing streak.

Goalie Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice for Dallas and will start his second straight game and 23rd of the season.

Posted On Saturday, 12.06.2014 / 1:19 PM

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

At the Rink: Canadiens at Stars

DALLAS -- With the Dallas Stars on a four-game winless streak heading into a matchup at American Airlines Center on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens, Stars coach Lindy Ruff is keeping things simple.

“For me, it comes down to compete level,” Ruff said. “We haven’t won enough 1-on-1s and our compete [level] has to be better.”

Dallas, which is starting a three-game home stand, lost all three games of its most recent road trip and was outscored 15-7. The Stars have also allowed five goals in three straight games and lost the previous game to those, 5-4 in a shootout against Minnesota.

Posted On Friday, 11.28.2014 / 2:20 PM

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

At the Rink: Wild at Stars

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars host the Minnesota Wild at American Airlines Center on Friday in a game featuring teams on opposite ends of the Central Division spectrum.

Dallas (9-9-4) has won three straight, but the Stars are 0-5-2 against the Central, a mark defenseman Trevor Daley knows needs improving.

"You want to put yourself in position to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, and you make the playoffs by being good in your division, so yeah, they're big games," Daley said.

Posted On Tuesday, 11.25.2014 / 2:44 PM

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

At the Rink: Oilers at Stars

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars seek a third straight victory at American Airlines Center on Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers.

The Stars (8-9-4), who are 2-1-0 in their longest homestand of the season, beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 on Saturday.

More than anything else, Dallas coach Lindy Ruff wants some consistency from his club, a quality he feels has been lacking.

"It's just been inconsistent. Like I said, I've loved our team, I've hated our team," Ruff said. "I loved them for 38 minutes and then I hated the way we played for the last 22. I loved the way we fought back against Carolina, but I didn't like where we got to before we fought back. So it's been that inconsistency that's hurt our team. It's hurt our play here at home and that's frustrating."

Ruff made one change to his forward lines from Saturday, plugging left wing Ryan Garbutt in on the right side of his fourth line, replacing Curtis McKenzie, who was assigned to Texas of the American Hockey League on Monday.

Posted On Saturday, 11.22.2014 / 2:22 PM

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

At the Rink: Kings at Stars

DALLAS -- Two days removed from snapping a seven-game home losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes at American Airlines Center, the Dallas Stars now seek their first back-to-back home victories when they play the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

The Stars (7-9-4) have already faced the Kings twice in November, losing 3-1 in Dallas on Nov. 4 but prevailing 2-0 at Staples Center on Nov. 13.

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff expects another tough game on Saturday, the third game of a five-game homestand for the Stars.

"I think they're a real good team at getting around the net. They go hard to the net," Ruff said. "Every line plays the same and I think that physically we got to be up for that challenge."

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