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Stars-Flyers Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars at Philadelphia Flyers
Saturday, December 10
Noon
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (11-11-6) are coming off a 5-2 win over Nashville Thursday at American Airlines Center. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Jason Spezza played together on the top line and combined for eight points (three goals, five assists) to lead the Stars.

"We were doing the right things, and we were getting rewarded," Seguin said. "Everyone played a great game; it was a full 60 minutes. We've got to find some consistency. We've been up and down, and we've got to win a couple in a row."

The Stars have won consecutive games just once this season and are 1-6-3 in games following a win. The Stars are hoping to turn that around, find some consistency and put together a run. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday's game is the model.

"By playing the way we did [Thursday, put together shift after shift like we put together. That's how you find consistency," Ruff said. "Somebody said the team needs an identity. You just don't give your team an identity. You go out and work for an identity. I think we worked hard to gain an identity of a team that is going to outwork you."

The Stars activated RW Jiri Hudler from injured reserve Friday. Ruff said Hudler could play Saturday. Ruff said D Johnny Oduya (lower body) could play this weekend, but not both games of the back to back against Philadelphia and Chicago.

The Stars placed D Julius Honka (upper body) on injured reserve and assigned C Jason Dickinson to Texas (AHL).

The Stars will play the two road games this weekend and then return to Dallas for a five-game homestand.

Injuries: RW Jiri Hudler (illness) and D Johnny Oduya (lower body) are questionable. D Julius Honka (upper body), RW Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms), C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) and RW Ales Hemsky (hip) are on injured reserve.

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Progress on the injury front

Hudler off IR and available, Oduya expected to play this weekend, Sharp skating

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

There was some positive news on the injury front for the Dallas Stars Friday. Forward Jiri Hudler is off injured reserve and available to play, Johnny Oduya should come off IR and play this weekend, and Patrick Sharp has resumed skating.

The Stars opened a roster spot for Hudler to come off IR by assigning Jason Dickinson to the AHL Friday. That means Hudler will be available to suit up this weekend when the Stars play at Philadelphia Saturday and then again Sunday in Chicago. 

"I am feeling way better, way better," Hudler said. "The way I felt the past couple months, I am feeling better the past couple weeks. It wasn't easy, but I hope to get into a game soon."

Hudler has been out with what the Stars say was a virus. Hudler has missed a lot of time, and both he and Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it could take some time for him to get up to speed. 

"It takes time to get going," Hudler said. "It's a cliché, but you've got to get into game shape, and the way you get into game shape is playing games. I think I am in pretty good shape cardio-wise and the strength is back, but we'll find out when I get into a game."

"He's missed a lot of time," Ruff said. "I am just going to go one game at a time. We've seen when we've put guys in that have come off the injured list that it has taken them a while."

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Niemi wins Normandy Homes Three Stars of the Game

Stars goaltender has won the first segment of voting for the 2016-17 season

by Dallas Stars Staff / Press Releases

The Dallas Stars and Normandy Homes announced today that Stars goaltender Antti Niemi  has won the first segment of the Normandy Homes Three Stars of the Game voting for the 2016-17 season. Normandy Homes will donate $1,000 to the Dallas Stars Foundation on his behalf.

Niemi, 33, led the Stars in the Normandy Homes Three Stars of the Game voting with 18 total points through the first segment this season. The goaltender earned three first star selections and one second star selection in the first 27 games of the 2016-17 campaign. Dallas forward Tyler Seguin came in second in the voting with two first stars, two second stars and one third star for a total of 17 points, while goaltender Kari Lehtonen ranked third on the team with two first stars and two second stars for a total of 16 points.

Niemi holds a 5-3-3 record with a 3.20 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage in 14 appearances this season. The Vantaa, Finland native has also posted a 5-1-1 record with a 1.98 GAA and a .936 SV% in eight home games in 2016-17. Niemi's .936 SV% at home currently ranks sixth in the NHL (min. five games played), while his 1.98 home GAA is good for 11th in the League (min. five games played).

The Normandy Homes Star of the Game standings are determined by the Stars player who earns the most points in the Normandy Homes Three Stars of the Game voting, which occurs after each regular-season game. A player receives five points for a first star selection, three points for a second star and one point for a third star. The Normandy Homes Three Stars of the Game are selected by members of the media in each home city.

Each year, Normandy Homes will make donations totaling $3,000 to the Dallas Stars Foundation on behalf of the winning Stars players. Over the course of the season there will be two segment winners and one overall winner, each having $1,000 donated in their name from Normandy Homes.

Normandy Homes (normandyhomes.com) designs and builds luxury, single family production homes. Since its inception just four short years ago, Normandy Homes has become a major player in DFW, winning numerous awards and accolades including being the most-awarded builder at the 2016 McSam Awards presented by the Dallas Builders Association. Today, Normandy Homes builds in communities in the most desirable areas of DFW including Allen, Flower Mound, Carrollton and Arlington with communities in McKinney and Frisco coming soon. Normandy Homes are priced from the low $300s to the $700s and appeal to a broad range of homebuyers from move-up families to empty nesters looking to downsize.

Normandy Homes is a subsidiary of Green Brick Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: GRBK)

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Stars activate Jiri Hudler from injured reserve

by Dallas Stars Staff / Press Releases

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has activated forward Jiri Hudler from injured reserve, and reassigned forward Jason Dickinson to the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Hudler, 32, has not recorded a point in four games this season, and has missed 23 games due to illness. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound native of Olomouc, Czech Republic was signed by Dallas as a free agent on Aug. 24, 2016.

Dickinson, 21, has appeared in one game with Dallas this season, recording one blocked shot in 10:08 of ice time. The forward registered 10 points (4-6=10) in 13 games with Texas this season before being recalled by Dallas on Dec. 6.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Georgetown, Ont. was selected by Dallas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

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Stars' best players fuel 5-2 win over Predators

Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, and Tyler Seguin play on same line and shine in Dallas victory

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Your best players have to be your best players and Stars coach Lindy Ruff put three of his best players on one line Thursday night, and they delivered. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Jason Spezza combined for eight points as the Stars defeated the Nashville Predators 5-2 at American Airlines Center.

"It's been no secret around here that our top players haven't been our top players. That's something we take personally," Benn said. "We need to be better. It was nice to get this one but it was only one and we need to continue this."

Benn and Spezza both had one goal and two assists and Seguin had one goal and one assist. Benn scored just his second five-on-five goal of the season. Spezza's goal ended a 12-game goal-scoring drought. 

"We've shown good chemistry in the past, and when we play together we know we have to be good," Spezza said. "It was good to have an impact as a line. We need to get things going in the right way, and the three of us have to be good to do that."

The Stars, who were coming off an up and down performance in a 2-1 loss to Calgary on Tuesday, went through a hard practice on Wednesday and came out strong from the drop of the puck Thursday. They grabbed a 2-0 lead midway through the first period and never looked back, playing a solid 60 minutes. 

"Obviously, our last game was not Dallas Stars hockey, and then you get put through a tough practice, you come out with a much better effort tonight," said Benn. "We're all satisfied with tonight, but we have to learn how to be more consistent."

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Stars-Predators Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars
Thursday, December 8
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (10-11-6) lost 2-1 to Calgary at American Airlines Center Tuesday. The Stars led 1-0 after one period but gave up four breakaways, including a 2-on-0 in the second period when the Flames scored to tie. Calgary won the game on a power-play goal in the third.

"It was just puck management again," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "We're not playing a 60-minute game, and we haven't for this first part of the season. It's been 40 out of 60, 20 out of 60. The disappointing part is we put together probably our best 60-minute effort [Saturday at Colorado], and we followed it up with a real solid 20 minutes and probably played our worst 20 minutes in the second period. We had changes that gave them breakaways. We had just ill-advised passes, tough decisions, tough puck decisions that are flat out not good plays."

The Stars, who have won consecutive games just once this season, fell to 1-6-3 in games following a win.

Stars defensemen Julius Honka left Tuesday's game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return. He is out for Thursday. Ruff said Honka probably will miss a couple of games.

RW Jiri Hudler (illness) and D Johnny Oduya (lower body) both went through a full practice on Wednesday. Hudler is questionable for Thursday and Oduya is doubtful.

Thursday's game wraps up a two-game homestand for Dallas.

Injuries: RW Jiri Hudler (illness) is questionable. D Johnny Oduya (lower body) is doubtful. D Julius Honka (upper body) is out. RW Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms), C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) and RW Ales Hemsky (hip) are on injured reserve.

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Jason Dickinson expected in the lineup Thursday

Honka out Thursday, Oduya and Hudler getting closer to return

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

When the Dallas Stars were hit hard with injuries at the forward spot earlier this season, Jason Dickinson could have been one of the young players to help fill the void. But there was one problem. He was injured as well, still recovering from offseason hip surgery, and didn't have a shot at the opportunity.

"Of course, it is in the back of your head," Dickinson said. "Honestly, the first thing on my mind was try to get healthy and get my game going again."

And he's done that recently with the Texas Stars, and that's why Dallas recalled him this week when Patrick Sharp went out of the lineup with concussion-like symptoms. Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said the call-up would be based on who was going well in the AHL, and Dickinson has been going well.

"In the last three, four weeks, I think he has found his hands, skated really well. He's a big man that skates well," Ruff said. "I think one thing with some of the players we have out, some of the speed part of our game is missing. He's a guy that I think we can put in and he can add to the speed of our lineup."

The 21-year-old Dickinson, Dallas' first-round pick (29th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft, is expected to be in the lineup when the Stars take on Nashville Thursday at American Airlines Center. In Wednesday's practice Dickinson skated on the left wing with center Jason Spezza and right wing Lauri Korpikoski.

"It's exciting," Dickinson said. "I am just going to keep trying to do what I am doing, keep it simple, try not to do anything too fancy and just try to do my best up here."

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Stars fall to Flames, 2-1

Stars miss out again on opportunity to string together wins

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars continue to have a hard time stringing together wins. For the ninth time in ten tries this season the Stars failed to follow up a win with another win, falling 2-1 to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

The Stars, who have won consecutive games just once this season, fell to 1-6-3 in games following wins. The Stars overall record fell to 10-11-6.

"It's kind of tiring to win one here and lose one," said Stars forward Curtis McKenzie. "It's not the type of hockey you want to be playing. It's not as fun in the room. We have to be able to find a way to put it on ourselves to start playing a full game and everything will come from there."

The Stars, coming off a solid 3-0 win at Colorado on Saturday, had some issues Tuesday. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on a McKenzie goal, the Stars gave up three breakaways and then allowed a goal on a 2-on-0 rush in the second period.

"It's just mental mistakes that shouldn't be made anymore at this time of year," said Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis. "We have worked so hard to play good defense and give teams nothing in five-on-five play and keeping them to the outside as much as we can. We certainly don't want to be giving them 2-on-0 and breakaways."

Said Stars coach Lindy Ruff: "It's careless puck play. Careless puck play by your best players. They were all involved. If our best players can't consistently get in there and generate and score and finish, we're going to be up and down like we are."

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Stars look to take advantage of lengthy home stretch

No lineup changes expected tonight vs. Flames

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

After four games on the road, the Dallas Stars are back home for a key stretch of games at American Airlines Center. The Stars will play ten of their next 13 games at the AAC, starting with tonight's tilt with the Calgary Flames. 

The Stars, who are 10-10-6 and two points out of a playoff spot, are hoping to take advantage of the home games and make a move in the standings.

"Our overall record isn't great, but playing at home is going to have its advantages," said Stars forward Adam Cracknell. "This is where we can separate ourselves from other teams. We have to take advantage of it. We can't let it slip away."

The Stars have been through some rough scheduling, playing 18 games - eleven of them on the road - in a 33-day stretch with a lot of travel. Now, they hope the schedule will play in their favor.

"We'll start with one game at a time, but it's an opportunity to get some practices in, play some games at home and hopefully get on a roll," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.

The Stars saw some progress during the road trip. They played well in Detroit and Pittsburgh but didn't get results. They finally saw things come together in Colorado Saturday, defeating the Avalanche, 3-0, and they hope to build off that win.

"The last three games we deserved more points than we got," Ruff said. "We had a little bit of trouble getting the puck in the net, especially in Detroit. We had plenty of opportunities to at least get a point out of that game. … The last three minutes against Pittsburgh were disappointing. I thought the whole game in Colorado, we stayed with it. We played a solid game. It was three periods of good hockey, and we were patient when we needed to be patient. We'd like to build off that."

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Stars recall forward Jason Dickinson from Texas

by Dallas Stars Staff @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled forward Jason Dickinson from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Dickinson, 21, has registered 10 points (4-6=10) in 13 games with Texas this season, while he ranks sixth on the team with a +6 plus/minus rating. The forward began the 2016-17 season on the injured non-roster list with a hip injury.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Georgetown, Ont. was selected by Dallas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. Dickinson has appeared in one career NHL contest, making his debut and scoring his first career NHL goal (1-0=1) on April 7, 2016 against Colorado.

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