The first step to finding a solution to a problem is identifying you have a problem. The Dallas Stars have a problem, and they know it.
"Pretty much we simply have to play better team defense," Stars captain Jamie Benn said during a phone conversation Friday.
Nobody will dispute that.
The Stars have allowed five goals in five of their past six games. Not surprisingly, they're 0-5 in those games.
Go back 22 games and they've allowed 78 goals, an average of 3.54 per game. That they're scoring 2.59 per game in the past 22 games, a reasonable number if you have a good defense, is totally irrelevant.
The Stars are 6-13-3 since opening the season with a 4-1-2 record in their first seven games.
"We didn't really focus on team defense at the start of the year because we knew we could score so many goals," Benn said. "But it's kind of come back now and we really need to focus on the defensive zone to help our goalies out."
To fix the problem, Benn said the Stars spent the past three days of practice working on new systems geared toward being more defensive. He wouldn't give away any secrets, but he said the time off before playing Saturday against the New Jersey Devils has given the Stars a chance to reset and refocus.
Dallas hasn't played since Tuesday, when it lost 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets.
"I think we do have to change our mindset," Benn said. "We've got such an offensive-minded team right now and we know we can score goals, but it's taking care of our own end that we have to worry about.
"We've made some changes in our system here, and I think it's about executing now. It's about being more responsible with the puck and playing tighter defense."