After a four-game homestand in which they picked up five of a possible eight points (2-1-1), it is back on the road for the Dallas Stars.
The Stars have a three-game road trip starting Sunday that kicks off a stretch that will see them play seven of their next eight on the road. And it begins with some tough scheduling.
Sunday's game against the New York Islanders (Noon CT; FS-SW; KTCK) kicks off a stretch of five games in seven days. Three games in four days on the road (at the Islanders, Rangers, and Penguins), Thanksgiving off, at home Friday vs. Ottawa, and then back on the road at Colorado on Saturday. Then there are a couple of days off before back-to-back games against Edmonton and Calgary.
They close out the stretch in Vancouver.
"It's a lot of hockey in a short amount of time, so we are going to need to get results," said center Jason Spezza. "It's probably not going to be pretty every night, and we are going to need our special teams.
Video: Montgomery thinks Faksa had his best game of the year
"These are the trips that can really catapult you as a team. This is an important stretch of hockey coming up."
The Stars are 3-4-1 on the road. After going 0-2-0 on their first road trip of the season, they put together a solid six-game trip in late October/early November picking up seven of a possible 12 points (3-2-1). That will provide some confidence as they head into this road-heavy stretch.
But Spezza took issue with a lot of the hand-wringing over the Stars road play heading into that last trip, saying there was too much emphasis on the team's road record last season.
"Sure (the last road trip helps), but I didn't like the way last year got lumped into this year with everyone talking about our road record," Spezza said. "That last road trip should have gotten rid of that notion that we are a bad road team. I just don't think it is fair to teams when year to year things get lumped together. I think that road trip got rid of that stigma of having to talk about it all the time. But it does give us confidence.
"You have to win games on the road."
Hintz, Gleason recalled
The Stars recalled center Roope Hintz and defenseman Ben Gleason from the AHL for the upcoming road trip. Hintz started the season in the NHL and played in five games with Dallas but was assigned to the Texas Stars on Oct. 20. He's played well in Texas, recording eleven points (four goals, seven assists) in nine games and has scored goals in each of his last three games.
"Roope has done a really good job down below," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "He went down and did what we asked of him, and now it's time to have him come up and play some games for us, have an impact on our roster."
Gleason, who is in his first pro season, was called up to Dallas last week, played well in two games and picked up one assist before being assigned back to Texas where he has eight points (two goals, six assists) in 13 games as an AHL rookie.
"Ben Gleason went down and has taken his game to another level. Clearly he was the guy to get called up," Montgomery said. "What I love about him is he can make plays, and he wants to make plays. He's not afraid to have the puck on his stick with the game on the line."
Odds and ends
• The Stars held a short practice in Frisco Saturday morning before departing for New York. Defenseman Esa Lindell was on the first power-play unit instead of Miro Heiskanen, who has been playing in place of the injured John Klingberg. The switch to Lindell was a move made in the third period of last night's game with the power play struggling again, going 0-4 for a second consecutive game.
"It's just not working, right?" Montgomery said. "So we got to switch it up."
• Forward Tyler Pitlick did not practice Saturday. Montgomery said Pitlick was will but would be traveling with the team.
• Montgomery said none of the Stars players out with injuries would be traveling. That list includes Klingberg (hand), Marc Methot (lower body), Connor Carrick (foot), Devin Shore (lower body), Martin Hanzal (back), and Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches).
Who: Dallas Stars at New York Islanders
Where: Barclays Center
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM/96.7-FM
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.