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Stars contend with Flyers, possibly Giroux

Wednesday, 12.21.2011 / 2:40 PM / NHL Insider

By Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

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Stars contend with Flyers, possibly Giroux
Claude Giroux could be back for Philadelphia, but Dallas knows it's in for a tough fight either way as its opponent looks to snap a two-game winless streak.
DALLAS -- Will he or won't he? The big question surrounding Wednesday night's game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars seems to be whether or not Flyers top-line center Claude Giroux, currently tied for the NHL lead in points with 39, will return to the ice after missing the last four games with a concussion.

Giroux has been called a game-time decision by Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette, but whether or not he's on the ice, the Stars know they're in for a tough fight, even if the Flyers enter on a two-game winless streak.

"Yeah, I hope he picks a different day to come back. If he does, we just have to play the same way," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We know they play heavy in the offensive zone. Like Anaheim did, they'll pinch and they keep pressure on you and they forecheck hard. I think that we have to be disciplined and make sure we play a patient defensive game.

"They are aggressive in their offensive zone, and we have to stay below the puck and make sure that we wait for opportunities maybe for a mistake to happen. Offensively, we have to get on their D and make sure we play that grind game against them. I think they're well-rounded, well-coached and for a reason, they're one of the top teams."
-- Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan

"They are aggressive in their offensive zone, and we have to stay below the puck and make sure that we wait for opportunities maybe for a mistake to happen. Offensively, we have to get on their D and make sure we play that grind game against them. I think they're well-rounded, well-coached and for a reason, they're one of the top teams."

Gulutzan will have a game-time decision of his own, as veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas took a puck off his skate during the morning practice and is questionable to play. Should Robidas not be able to go, Adam Pardy will likely step in alongside Sheldon Souray on Dallas' top defensive pairing.

"Robidas is a little bit of an issue right now with his foot. We'll have game-time decisions. I've told Toby Petersen and Adam Pardy to both be ready to play," Gulutzan said. "If [Robidas] comes out, there is going to be some power-play time that is going to have to be taken up and a defenseman will have to come in."

One player who will be on the ice for Dallas tonight is winger Adam Burish, who has missed the last 15 games due to a broken hand. Burish will most likely return on the fourth line, bringing a grittiness and willingness to do the little things like dig pucks out of the corner and block shots.

Dallas heads into this game two days removed from a 5-3 win over Anaheim on Monday night to start a three-game homestand on a positive note. In that victory over the Ducks, the Stars built a 3-0 lead only to see Anaheim draw even before Dallas pulled away in the final period with a pair of goals.

Stephane Robidas
Defense - DAL
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 11
SOG: 31 | +/-: -4
Now they will face the Flyers, who, at 12-3-2, currently have the best road record in the NHL. Philadelphia is also second in the League in goals with 112. It's a challenge the Dallas players welcome.

"We know they're up there [in the standings]," Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman said. "They've been playing real good all year. Every team has a couple of bumps on the road. They have a real solid team in the back end and especially up front with [Jaromir] Jagr and all those guys. We know what kind of game it's going to be tonight. It's going to be a hard-working game. They like to hit and play physical."

And even though this is only December, Grossman has no illusions about how big a game this is.

"We need to make a statement here," he said. "Sure, we got some wins together lately, but we still want to keep pushing forward. We want to keep doing better and show our fans here that we can play good at home. It's going to be a big game for us here."
Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie