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Posted On Monday, 03.23.2015 / 2:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.21.2015 / 2:38 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.”

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Posted On Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 2:23 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 5:00 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.03.2015 / 2:38 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.01.2015 / 9:55 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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."


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Posted On Sunday, 03.01.2015 / 2:47 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Friday, 02.27.2015 / 3:01 PM

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

At the Rink: Avalanche at Stars

DALLAS -- The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars each have 63 points and are eight points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second Western Conference wild-card berth into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making their game at American Airlines Center on Friday a crucial one for both teams.

Dallas (27-25-9) has lost four straight games (0-3-1) and is 12-12-7 at home. But coach Lindy Ruff feels that even though Dallas is 0-3-1 against the Avalanche this season, the margin between them is small.

"In the last game in this building, basically they have nothing and we let them score with under 20 seconds left and they end up winning it in the extra time," Ruff said. "It's making sure that if we have that lead we can hold it, and if we're behind it's getting that key goal."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.21.2015 / 2:17 PM

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

At the Rink: Red Wings at Stars

DALLAS -- The Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars each need a victory, which makes the game at American Airlines Center on Saturday between the former Central Division rivals an intriguing matchup.

Detroit (32-14-10) is 1-2-1 in its past four games and will be without defenseman Kyle Quincey (lower body). Jakub Kindl, who has missed the past 20 games with an elbow injury, will replace Quincey in the second defensive pairing alongside Danny DeKeyser.

Kindl played two games for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League earlier this week on a conditioning assignment before being recalled on Friday.

"We just want him to get in there and get playing, get his confidence back," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Kindl. "He's a real good puck mover. He can shoot the puck and he's just got to work on being good defensively."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.19.2015 / 2:54 PM

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

At the Rink: Sharks at Stars

DALLAS -- The San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars are currently on the wrong side of the cutoff line for the Stanley Cup Playoffs picture in the Western Conference, which makes the game between the former Pacific Division rivals at American Airlines Center on Thursday crucial.

San Jose (29-22-8) is 2-5-2 in its past nine games, including a 5-1 loss at the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. The Sharks are currently tied in points with the Los Angeles Kings, but L.A. holds the final wild-card spot in the West by virtue of having played two fewer games. San Jose's recent struggles led coach Todd McLellan to shuffle his lines at morning skate on Thursday.

"It could (help us defensively). We're hoping that," McLellan said. "We've won two of our last nine games with the same group, so it's time to shake things up. We'll see if that gives us an opportunity to be productive. If not, we can always go back."

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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday