The Dallas Stars flew home from California on Saturday, and the return came not a moment too soon.
The Stars will practice Sunday, preparing to play a home game Monday for the first time since April 11. It will be Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Anaheim Ducks (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, KDOC, TXA 21).
Dallas, which trails the best-of-7 series 2-0, was 23-11-7 at American Airlines Center this season, 8-1-1 in its final 10.
"We've played real good hockey, especially the last 15, 20 games here," coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News on Saturday. "In front of our crowd, I think that added energy will help our team."
It will be the Stars' first home playoff game since May 19, 2008, a 4-1, series-ending loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.
"Be interesting to see the atmosphere, especially with these fans not seeing playoff hockey in a while," forward Tyler Seguin told The Associated Press. "Pretty long trip. Feels like we haven't been home in a while."
The Stars defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-0 on April 11 before ending the regular season with a 2-1 road loss to the Phoenix Coyotes last Sunday.
Dallas stayed west and lost the first two games of the series against the Ducks, 4-3 on Wednesday and 3-2 on Friday.
"The feeling right now is we could be 1-1, we could be 2-0, but we're 0-2," Ruff said. "We have to clean up a couple of mistakes, but I thought our second game was a lot better than the first, but we didn't take advantage of a couple of key opportunities and made a couple of big mistakes that turned the tide on us. …
"It doesn't feel like an 0-2 series. We definitely haven't been dominated. In fact, the last game we dominated (36-19 edge in shots on goal), we just didn't win. We've got to clean up some of our mistakes and take advantage of some of those key opportunities."
Defenseman Brenden Dillon (lower body) may skate Sunday, but Ruff does not expect him to play Monday.
"There's a chance he could skate tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes," Ruff said. "But skating once and trying to play is a pretty big task, really."