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At the Rink blog

Stars set to begin critical homestand

Saturday, 03.23.2013 / 2:40 PM

By Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan is well aware of his club's 6-6-2 record at home, a mark which ranks as the worst in the Western Conference. However, as Dallas begins a season-long five-game homestand Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center, he and his players are focused on the task at hand, winning game one and moving on to the next one.

"That's irrelevant to us," Gulutzan said when asked about the importance of the homestand. "It's tonight, this game. Confident we can win on the road, just got to win this game."

Dallas is almost completely healthy, missing only defenseman Aaron Rome (foot), who has missed the past 12 games, and forward Ryan Garbutt (hand), who will miss his fifth straight game Saturday.

The Stars split a two-game road trip earlier in the week, losing 4-3 to Colorado at Pepsi Center on Wednesday and beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 at Staples Center on Thursday for their second win of the season over the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

Before the start of a previous homestand, Gulutzan said he wanted to treat the first game like a road game. He would like to see a similar mindset against the Avalanche.

"We've just got to play our game, make sure we're playing for each other and doing the little things, have some purpose to our game, exactly what we're doing," he said. "We're going to have to battle. We're not going to blow teams out of the water, but we've got to battle for each other."

Colorado has the worst road record in the NHL at 2-9-3 and the Avalanche haven't won away from home since Feb. 14 at the Minnesota Wild, beating them 4-3 in a shootout.

Avalanche coach Joe Sacco announced that Semyon Varlamov will start in goal against Dallas and veteran wing Milan Hejduk will sit out this game with Jamie McGinn replacing him on Colorado's top line. Hejduk is getting a rest so he will be ready for the second game of the back-to-back on Sunday night at the Vancouver Canucks.

For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory