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Posted On Saturday, 04.11.2015 / 2:16 PM

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

At the Rink: Predators at Stars

DALLAS -- When the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars meet Saturday at American Airlines Center, both teams will be missing key players.

Nashville (47-24-10, 104 points) has locked up second place in the Central Division, but the Predators will be without their top defensive pair against Dallas because Roman Josi and Shea Weber are both out with lower-body injuries.

The Predators have recalled defenseman Joe Piskula from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League to provide depth.

Posted On Friday, 04.03.2015 / 2:08 PM

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

At the Rink: Blues at Stars

DALLAS -- With five regular-season games to play, the Dallas Stars' chances of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season remain alive as they host the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-SW).

Dallas (37-30-10) is six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card from the Western Conference. The Stars lost 5-3 to the Calgary Flames on Monday.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff is tweaking his fourth line, with veteran center Shawn Horcoff missing practice Thursday and the morning skate on Friday with an illness.

"The latest is it doesn't look like he'll be able to play," Ruff said.

Horcoff being unavailable means Ruff will likely employ a fourth line of left wing Travis Moen, center Colton Sceviour and right wing Valeri Nichushkin.

Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 3:01 PM

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

At the Rink: Flames at Stars

DALLAS -- The Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars played last Wednesday at Scotiabank Saddledome, a game Dallas won 4-3 in a shootout.

At American Airlines Center on Monday, the Flames and Stars face off in another matchup with huge implications for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (8:30 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-SW).

"I know it sounds cliché but that's going to be probably my favorite line until the end of this season, is it's one game at a time," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "There's six games left this season. We need to win them."

Calgary (41-28-7, 89 points) defeated the Nashville Predators 5-2 at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. The Flames are third in the Pacific Division, two points behind the second-place Vancouver Canucks.

Posted On Monday, 03.23.2015 / 2:34 PM

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

At the Rink: Sabres at Stars

DALLAS -- When the Buffalo Sabres face the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Monday, they could be without leading scorer Tyler Ennis, who missed the morning skate because of an illness.

Ennis, who leads the Sabres with 39 points (21 assists), became ill Monday morning, but Buffalo coach Ted Nolan remains optimistic Ennis will be able to play against Dallas.

"He woke up not feeling really good today, maybe a touch of the flu or whatever it is. Sent him back to the hotel. Hopefully he'll be ready to go tonight," Nolan said.

Buffalo (20-45-7, 47 points) will be without right wing Jerry D'Amigo, who took a stick to the face late in a 3-0 loss at the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, an infraction that earned Nashville center Craig Smith a $5,000 fine.

Posted On Saturday, 03.21.2015 / 2:38 PM

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

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Stars

DALLAS -- When the Chicago Blackhawks face the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Saturday, they could reach several milestones.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville is one victory away from reaching career win No. 750. Quenneville is 749-431-106 with 77 ties as an NHL coach and credits much of his success to being surrounded by great personnel during stints with the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche and Blackhawks.

“I’ve been fortunate, been around real good teams,” Quenneville said. “Timing’s been fortunate in a lot of ways to work with great players, a lot of top teams, organizationally working with some great management people as well.”

Posted On Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 2:23 PM

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

At the Rink: Penguins at Stars

DALLAS -- The Pittsburgh Penguins hope facing the Dallas Stars, who are tied for the third-most non-shootout goals-against in the NHL (226) at American Airlines Center on Thursday, is just what they need to end a three-game losing streak where the Penguins have scored one goal on 108 shots.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said he knows that even though Dallas, which lost 3-0 to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday to begin a four-game homestand, has allowed a lot of goals, the Stars are adept at scoring them.

"They play a pace game, a skating game," Johnston said. "They're a very good transition team from their back end to their forwards and they're a hard forechecking group. That's what we talked to our team about; we have to prepare and have that mindset going into the game."

Center Sidney Crosby said he knows of one easy the Penguins can limit quality scoring chances for the Stars.

Posted On Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 5:00 PM

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

At the Rink: Blues at Stars

DALLAS -- Neither the St. Louis Blues nor the Dallas Stars held a morning skate Sunday in advance of their game at American Airlines Center.

St. Louis (43-20-5, 91 points) played Saturday, losing 3-1 at home to the Minnesota Wild, and embark on a six-game road trip over the next 10 days.

Goalie Jake Allen will start for the Blues, his first start since March 1 at the Vancouver Canucks.

Dallas (32-27-10, 74 points), which is starting a four-game homestand after going 4-1-0 during its recent road trip, held an optional practice Saturday at its headquarters in Frisco, Texas. Rookie defenseman John Klingberg, who was expected to return after missing two games with an upper-body injury, was ruled out by coach Lindy Ruff about 90 minutes before game time.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.03.2015 / 2:38 PM

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

At the Rink: Islanders at Stars

DALLAS -- With the Dallas Stars mired in a six-game losing streak (0-4-2), coach Lindy Ruff decided to change his game-day routine by having the morning skate at Stars headquarters in Frisco instead of American Airlines Center, where Dallas will host the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

Ruff's rationale for the change was simple.

"It's just trying to change it up. Let's change the scenery. It's my job to try to do things that'll make a difference," Ruff said. "I want this team to get better, continue to get better."

Ruff is keeping his forward lines identical from a 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. But he could be making a change in his defensive pairs.

Patrik Nemeth, who has missed the past 52 games with an arm laceration, could see his first action since Oct. 18, 2014, against the Philadelphia Flyers. Nemeth could join Trevor Daley on Dallas' second pair.

Posted On Sunday, 03.01.2015 / 9:55 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2015 NHL Trade Deadline blog

Stars GM Nill excited to land Backman, Janmark

DALLAS -- Shortly after trading left wing Erik Cole to the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill discussed the two prospects, defenseman Mattias Backman and center Mattias Janmark, the Stars received in return.

Backman, 22, was a fifth-round pick (No. 146) by Detroit in the 2011 NHL Draft. He played 18 games for Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League earlier this season before being loaned to Linkopings HC in the Swedish Hockey League.

Nill was an assistant general manager with the Red Wings when Backman was drafted, so he knows Backman well.

"He's a defenseman, a good puck-moving defenseman," Nill said. "He came over and played a few games at Grand Rapids start of the season and went back to Sweden. But he's very close to being an NHL-ready defenseman, just needs to gain strength in that but real good skill, good hockey sense."

Posted On Sunday, 03.01.2015 / 2:47 PM

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

At the Rink: Ducks at Stars

DALLAS -- With the Dallas Stars on a five-game losing streak (0-3-2), coach Lindy Ruff is making one big change to his lineup before the game against the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center on Sunday.

Backup goalie Jhonas Enroth will make his fourth start since being traded to Dallas from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 11. Enroth replaces Kari Lehtonen, who allowed four goals on 23 shots in regulation during a 5-4 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

"Just going to put him [Enroth] in net and let him play," Ruff said.

Ruff is likely keeping his forward lines and defensive pairings identical from Friday. Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski, right wing Ales Hemsky and left wing Antoine Roussel did not skate Sunday but Ruff said the session was optional and that all three will play against the Ducks.

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