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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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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