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Despite result, Stars see positives from Game 1 loss

Dallas looks to build on its third-period effort and keep up its level of intensity against the Blues

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The Stars on Friday went through a light optional skate at Enterprise Center with the belief that they will be a better team in Game 2 of their best-of-seven series with the St. Louis Blues Saturday (2 p.m. CT; NBC; KTCK).

"I think there's a lot for us to build off of from that game," said Stars forward Jason Dickinson after a 3-2 loss Thursday. "We stuck to our game plan and the more we keep doing that, we're just going to keep getting better at it. Eventually, it's going to turn in our favor."


[RELATED: Stars' fortunes could hinge on Benn's success | Complete postseason coverage]


The Stars had a 29-20 advantage in shots on goal, and said they found a new level of emotion in a desperate third period as they attempted to come back from a 3-1 deficit. Now, they say, they need to keep that level of intensity for the entire game.

"For the first game of the series, just coming off another one, I thought we played pretty well. But now we're down one. That's the reality of it and now we have to ramp up our game and get intense and get into a mode where we need to win this next one," said forward Andrew Cogliano. "I'm sure they want to be better, too. But for us, we're the team down and we need to be very desperate for Game 2."

Video: Cogliano on reality of Stars trailing early in series

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said he has not decided if he will make any lineup changes for Game 2.

Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury and is not available for Game 2. Montgomery moved Mats Zuccarello up to the top line in the third period in Game 1 and moved Jamie Benn to the second line with Jason Dickinson and Roope Hintz.

The coach has shuffled his forwards a great deal during the regular season, and center Tyler Seguin said the players are used to it.

"All year long, we've been doing that, so when the moment comes, you're feeling comfortable," Seguin said. "It depends on who is going that night and what he is seeing. Zuc was out there for a few shifts and you get that little extra energy. It's not so much losing your captain on the line, but from having that fresh face."

Video: Seguin looks ahead to big Game 2 for Stars


O'Reilly a challenge in faceoff circle, game

Blues center Ryan O'Reilly took 31 faceoffs in Game 1, winning 51 percent. O'Reilly won more faceoffs than any player in the league and also was among the leaders in percentage at 56.9 during the regular season.

Dallas did a good job in Game 1, as Seguin won 11 of 19 (58 percent) in the game and Benn won 7 of 12 (58 percent). The Stars as a team won 49 percent of the draws.

"He's the best faceoff man in the league," Seguin said. "He's crafty and he's got a crazy big blade, it's like a paddle out there. It's a little bit mental, and you've got to get over it yourself and you've got to really dig in. He's a good faceoff man and we're going to have a lot of work to do for the rest of the series."

Video: Faksa embraces heightened emotion of playoff hockey

Radek Faksa, who won 5 of 10 faceoffs, said winning draws is important. The Stars were fourth in the NHL during the regular season, winning 51.9 percent, first-round opponent Nashville was fifth at 51.5 percent, and the Blues were sixth at 51.4 percent.

"It's huge," Faksa said. "All the best teams, they're really tough in the face-offs. We challenged Nashville, who was one of the best in the league, and St. Louis is the same. So, the faceoffs are really important because it can decide if you're spending [a shift] in the defensive zone or the offensive zone.

"It's big, and it's not just about the centermen. The wings need to help, too."


Dickinson goes through concussion protocol again

Dickinson went through concussion protocol when he was hit hard by Nashville's Brian Boyle in the first round, and then had to go through it again in Game 1 when he leaped over a Blues player and crashed head-first into the boards.

Dickinson returned to the game and said he was fine after the collision.

Video: Dickinson sees 'a lot to build off of from' in Game 1

"I knew the boards were there, I just thought, `Tuck my shoulder and protect my head,' and I thought I did a fine job of that," he said. "Everything went well on the testing, so I'm not worried about it."


Game 2: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues (STL leads 1-0)

Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM, 96.7-FM

Photo by Sean Berry,

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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